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Connecticut Holds First Supporting Families Community of Practice Conference

Left to right:Commissioner Macy,
Robin Wood, Shelli Reynolds UCEDD,
Mary Lee Fay, NASDDS, Cathleen Adamczyk
and Molly Cole, both from the CT Council
on Developmental Disabilities
The kick-off event for the Connecticut Supporting Families Community of Practice was held the third week of September at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.  Over 170 invited guests participated in the daylong conference.  The Connecticut Community of Practice team is part of a national team comprised of five states that received a grant to examine processes of improving supports to individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families across the span of their lifetime.

“We are honored to have been selected as one of five states to participate in this national initiative.  This multi-year grant affords us the opportunity to learn with others how best to discover new and innovative ways to support more families,” said Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Commissioner Terrence W. Macy, Ph.D. “It is also a unique moment in history to be partnering with the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities in this learning experience.  This project speaks directly to fulfilling our mission and vision!”

Commissioner Macy with Kathleen Stauffer,
ARC of New London County

The conference offered an opportunity for participation by parents, self-advocates and representatives from key policy, program and planning agencies and the co-hosts, DDS and the Council on Developmental Disabilities to examine supports and services in Connecticut. Both DDS and the Council are responsible for implementing the project in the state and partnering with the other states.

The meeting was opened by Commissioner Macy and Molly Cole, Director of the Council on Developmental Disabilities.  Mary Lee Fay of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS), and Shelli Reynolds of the Missouri UCEDD presented an overview of the national Community of Practice initiative and facilitated the dialogue throughout the day. Robin Wood, DDS Director of Family

Support Strategies and Advocacy discussed the various  committees that will convene to do the work on this project.  Participants signed up for the committees of their choice and will begin meeting throughout the fall. In the spring of 2014, the entire group will convene to report progress and examine findings.

The participants were highly energized and worked in small group discussions throughout the afternoon.  This was a wonderful beginning as Connecticut began the planning process of improving the way we support individuals and families across the lifespan in our state.

To learn more about the Community of Practice activities, or to get involved in a committee, please contact Robin Wood at 860-418-6035, or at