Public Policy

The Collaboration came together with the goal of advocating for public policies which would produce economic opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Although employment opportunities remain the focus of the Collaboration, the scope of the organization’s work grew as it become clear that systems reform was needed in other policy areas to ensure that people with disabilities have full access to the community.

Currently, the Collaboration focuses on Asset Development, Education, Employment, Long-Term Supports and Services, and Transition.


Over the past five years since its inception, CPSD has pursued specific legislative and policy changes that include:

bullet_pointPlacing an Employment First presumption in major disability laws;

bullet_pointProviding greater reimbursement for providers who achieve employment outcomes at minimum wage for individuals with disabilities,particularly from Medicaid funds;

bullet_pointCreating a Medicaid Buy-in Program;

bullet_pointRequiring that students in special education who approach transition age have an opportunity to engage in paid work experience since this is the greatest correlate to paid employment in adulthood;

bullet_pointCreating a savings vehicle, and other asset development mechanisms, for individuals and families in statute so that that public benefits are not jeopardized Incentivizing public programs to blend and braid resources on behalf of persons with significant disabilities;

Permitting individuals and families to extensively and comprehensively direct public funds to achieve employment and independent living through the creation of an individual budget that is overseen by a fiduciary intermediary;

Redefining the role of case managers, benefits counselors, and employment navigators to include supporting and assisting individuals and families who seek to navigate the complex maze of public programs for persons with disabilities.

Moving forward, CPSD will work to implement systems reform and to promote public awareness through a comprehensive strategy that focuses on the need for public policy innovation. Such reforms will empower citizens who live with complex intellectual, developmental and cognitive disabilities.


Education is a fundamental component of preparing all children, regardless of disability status, for lives in our communities. The Collaboration advocates for inclusive education practices and high expectations for students with disabilities.


CPSD presumes competence in the ability of all citizens with significant disabilities to work and live independently in integrated settings and to contribute meaningfully in their communities. Personal autonomy, access, accountability, and responsibility over one’s life decision-making processes result in better outcomes and improved quality of life for people with significant disabilities.


The Collaboration came together around Employment Policy as the critical lynchpin to ensure people with significant disabilities are included in their communities.  The Collaboration embraces the concept of “Employment First” which is a paradigm that presumes that all people, including people with the most significant disabilities, can work for competitive wages and in their community, given the proper supports and services.


Providing opportunities for people with significant disabilities to save is critical to ensuring that individuals attain economic empowerment.  Current policy often requires people with significant disabilities live in poverty in order to receive the services they need to fully participate in their communities, or receive the medical care they need.

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