The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) is a federally and state funded partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and agencies which identifies barriers to community inclusion, self-determination, and independence, and acts to effect positive change. MDDC acts to effect positive change through advocacy, capacity building, training, demonstration projects, and support for other inclusive and collaborative systems change activities.
Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is committed to creating a Maine in which all people are valued and respected because we believe communities are stronger when everyone is included. Our purpose is to promote systems change to ensure that all individuals with developmental and other disabilities are able to live and fully participate in their communities of choice. Working in partnership with people with disabilities, parents, advocates, and policy makers, MDDC works to promote the independence, integration, and inclusion of all people with disabilities through advocacy, capacity building, and systems change activities throughout the state of Maine and on the national level.
So, what does that all mean?
Our Council is made up of people with lived experience with developmental disabilities, advocates for people with developmental disabilities, and representatives from the state agencies that oversee the service systems for people with developmental disabilities.
61% of the Council must be either: Self-advocates (people with DD), parents of children with DD, or parents/family of adults with DD who cannot advocate for themselves. That means that the biggest voice in the Council comes from people with lived experience in navigating the systems that impact people with DD.
The rest of the Council seats are designated for specific representatives – advocates from our sister organizations (Disability Rights Maine and the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies) and our statewide self-advocacy organization (Speaking Up For Us), as well as representatives from the various agencies and offices in the State that are tasked with regulating the systems of care and accommodation for Mainers with developmental disabilities.
Each member of the Council has a particular perspective to bring, and also a role to fill!
What the Council Does
In simplest terms, the Council meets (5 times per year for full meetings, plus subcommittee meetings) to create a vision (our 5 year plan) and to implement that vision by deciding where to put our resources (spend our budget). The DD Act states that Councils should promote:
…in all parts of community life for people with developmental disabilities and their families. The DD Act also outlines areas of emphasis that we must consider when making our plans and determining our budget:
We use those guidelines in order to determine our priorities, as well as our understanding of the systems in our state that could benefit the most from our work. From those ideas, we decide to fund projects and grants to make systems change for the better. We make those decisions as a group, and vote on every project that we fund.
You can read our latest 5 year plan here: https://maineddc.org/index.php/about-mddc/five-year-plan
You can find out more about the projects we have worked on or funded here: https://maineddc.org/index.php/projects-initiatives
If you are interested in becoming a member, you can learn more here: https://maineddc.org/index.php/become-a-member