Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Oversight and Accountability

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20

When you're omnipotent and omniscient, your presence among those gathered in your name is a grace. When you're disabled and policies affecting your life are debated, your presence among those gathered in your name is self-defense. The importance of organizing both locally and statewide is to insure that when two or three policy-makers gather in our name, we are there in the midst of them.

The flexibility of this system makes tracking changes and policies and the effects of both challenging. Policy is made outside the capitol that effects people with disabilities as well as the cost-effectiveness of the entire system. Regional Centers make policy as do county governments. These actions take place, typically with little community input or oversight. As a consequence, many policy choices which affect the success of the system are not questioned.

The importance of CDCAN (see post from June 22) is the success of the group and it's predecessors in gathering people with disabilities into hearings at which the laws governing our system are enacted. There's no doubting the success of this strategy in protecting our system. Local and statewide oversight by people with disabilities was intended for this system. At every regional center board meeting, at every DDS hearing, at every agency meeting and at every county commission hearing, the stakeholders should be in the middle.

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