Public Policy's Role in Improving Transition Outcomes: Stories from Wisconsin
Public Policys Role in ImprovingTransition Outcomes: Stories from Wisconsin Beth Swedeen and Lisa Pughhttp://www.letsgettoworkwi.org/ Twitter: @WisDisPolicy CEC, April 2013 San Antonio, TX
Learning Objectives• Understand critical role policies play in systems change for transition• Recognize multiple means to influence policy• Strategies and examples for using research and data to frame a rationale and recommendations for policy change• Share examples of policy briefs, systemic change efforts and results
Background: Who We Are Wanna-Be Wonks Learning How to Influence Policy!
Background• Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities awarded a Partnerships in Employment grant focused on policy changes that lead to better integrated employment outcomes for youth with significant I/DD• 4 main components of the project: Consortium, Policy Team, School Pilot Sites, Coaches• Of all the grant requirements, the policy piece was new to most.
Why We Don’t Do Policy Work?• I don’t have time• It’s not my job• I don’t know how• I hate politics!
What Happens When We Don’t Do it?• Research never makes it to the field• Good work never scales up• We lose out to other funding priorities• We keep encountering the same problems
What Happens When We Do it?• Evidence-based practice and research are applied so many more people benefit• We fix a problem for good• State and local policies become models for broader legislation and policy
Our WI Project: Identifying TransitionPoliciesUsed the 4 main components of the Let’s Get to Work project• Consortium: Key stakeholders from all state agencies, parents, youth, etc participate in activities that identify barriers to integrated employment• Policy Team: Strategizes how to develop or implement policy issues identified by Consortium• School Pilot Sites: Provides the “boots on the ground” perspective which informs the project of policy issues• Coaches: Assist the school sites in understanding how the issues they experience day to day can be turned into policyOther ways:• Collaboration with state agencies in preparing the application• Collaboration with other state initiatives
Our WI Project: Identifying Transition Policies • Division of Voc Rehab (DVR) • State Education Agency (DPI) • State Medicaid Agency (DHS)
Seek Policy Clarification:• Some youth were receiving assessments in facilities• Some provider networks and staff did not have extensive experience with significant disabilities• Confusion on appropriate age for youth referral
Seek Policy Clarification:• School districts question what LRE looks like for youth in transition (ages 18-21)• Indicator 13 compliance• Students with significant disabilities don’t always have access to same career guidance as peers
Finding a Lawmaker Champion• Senator Leibham meets students and parents • Student access to tech schools, apprenticeships and certificate programs • Workforce Initiatives• Newly elected officials looking for a cause• Connecting youth and families to legislators
Changing Community Attitudes: Jobs Firstand Patrick Meets Governor Walker• Employer policies & attitudes• Take Your Legislator to Work visits• Outboxing the Gov!
Think Broadly About Policy: Where is theBarrier or Opportunity?• Local policies (e.g. school boards, employers)• State Agency policies• Agency rules or regulations• New Legislation• Federal policies/laws
It’s All About Relationships!• At the local level – students and teachers with legislators• At the state level – meeting with agencies• What can you do for them? (Press, public thank you, vote!)
Don’t Take “No” for an Answer• Scaffold the Ask: Transition Endorsement/Certification• Work with legislators on Employment First legislation• If you “fail”, there is still a message
Look for Opportunities• What are their priorities?• What is the “moving vehicle”?• Ensuring students have access to Academic Career Plans• Governor’s Workforce Development Initiative – including people with disabilities• Decrease government dependence = work incentive benefits counseling!• Make a compelling case with data & research for a targeted ask.
Find Other Allies• Court other decision makers: OSEP; newly elected politicians!• Self-advocate organizations• Employers with mutual goals
What you can do to Increase PublicAwareness to Support Policy Change• Take Your Legislator to Work• Meeting in the district• Letters to the Editor and articles• Rotary meetings• Community conversations
Beth Swedeen, WI-BPDDbeth.firstname.lastname@example.orgLisa Pugh, WI AIDD Public Policy Coordinatorlisa.email@example.comLet’s Get to Work!http://www.letsgettoworkwi.org/