Council Secures Bill Sponsor for Removal of the “R” Word from State Stautute HB123

The council is very pleased to announce Rep. Keith Regier (R-Kalispell)


The MCDD is celebrating our 40+1 Anniversary!   Included in the DD Act in 1970 and placed in state statute in 1971, the Council has a long history of service to Montana’s citizens with developmental disabilities and their families.

On October 18 at the Great Northern Hotel the Council will be  celebrating this milestone with  current and past Council members, contractors, providers, self-advocates and their families and our state government partners.

The evening festivities include a buffet dinner,  music by Red Stiletto Swing, red carpet photos, silent auction items and a grand prize raffle for a beautiful .50 tcw Yogo Sapphire necklace set in 14K white gold.

Council Chair Connie Wethern  shared the evenings program will include a retrospective of the past 41 years of the Councils history .  “We are at times so focused on current issues that we fail to look back and honor our accomplishments”, Connie said.

Join us for a fun-filled evening and a look-back at the past 41 years with the Council.

The event is being held at the Great Northern Hotel located in the Great Northern Center in Helena.

Contact Council offices for additional information at 443-4332 or 1/866-443-4332.


FROM THE DIRECTOR, Deborah Swingley

Welcome to the first issue of One Voice,  the new MCDD newsletter.

For some months now the Council has been working on rebranding the Council, our logo and website.   My thanks go out to the membership for their time and direction on the Council’s new look.

Here we are in federal fiscal year 2013.  The next few months promise to be very interesting as we have state and national elections.

For programs funded with domestic, discretionary dollars these are challenging times.  (see story below)

Soon Montana will have a new Governor,  and in  early January the  state legislature convenes.  There may  be more challenging times for the service delivery system .  Issues of provider rate increases, waiting list funding and the future of some public facilities may be addressed.

As you know from prior sessions, hearings and action on issues can move very quickly.   We will provide updates  and alerts to the membership as issues move through the session.

Let’s work collaboratively and proactively as these issues arise.  Together we can make a difference. 


On Saturday October 6, 2012 MCDD was present at the Family Life Expo held at the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds in Helena.Manning the MCDD booth for the day were Council staff and Council member Nanette Whitman-Holmes.  The Expo focuses on issues facing families, and is being held in cities across Montana this fall and into the spring of 2013. The Council’s booth was visited by a number of Expo attendees , and many Council materials were distributed.

Special thanks to Nanette for sharing her Saturday with us.


It has been a very busy year for the Council fulfilling the work of our contract with the Mental Health Settlement Trust.    The Council, and our collaborators, NADD (national association on dual diagnosis), MACDS (MT association of community disability services) and the state developmental disabilities program provided statewide training in the areas of dual diagnosis and law enforcement.

For two weeks in April and again in May, Council staff and NADD trainers traveled across Montana providing these trainings.

Understanding People Who Have A Dual Diagnosis:  Characteristics and Clinical Practices was presented to 575 mental health clinicians, therapists, school administrators, support brokers and families by Dr. Robert Fletcher, President of NADD.

Understanding and Interacting with People with Intellectual Disabilities:  A Guide for Law Enforcement was presented by NADD trainer Marc Goldman to 117 police training officers, County Sheriffs tribal police, Highway Patrol and tactical teams statewide.

Response to both training opportunities have been remarkable with numerous calls, letters, and emails being received in Council offices attesting to the quality of the trainings.   Additionally a web-based evaluation survey has sent to all attendees.  After the survey closes the results of the evaluation will be provided to the Council in the near future.


  • April 23 Missoula

  • April 24 Great Falls

  • April 25 Helena

  • April 26 Bozeman

  • September 10 Billings

  • September 11 Miles City

  • September 13 Glasgow


  • May 14 Bozeman

  • May 15 Billings

  • May 17 Glasgow

  • May 18 Havre

  • September 10 Butte

  • September 11 Helena

  • September 12 Pablo

Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities: Resource Directory for Service Providers

As a product of the Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities National Professional Training Conference cooperative agreement with the Office for Victims of Crime, the Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities:  Resource Directory for Service Providers is available via the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) webpage.  This product was a primary responsibility of the Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies.

The directory is designed to help community advocates working in the fields of crime victim assistance, disability services, law enforcement and allied professions improve their response to victims with disabilities.

Resources are organized by topic, such as accessibility, assistive technology, collaboration, communication, curricula and training, service animals, video collections and more.

The Resource Directory can be found on the following website:     www.ncvc.org

We encourage you to visit the resource guide and to contact NCVC for additional information. 


Message from the Executive Director

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you’re busy planning other things.” That saying certainly applies to my family. One week we’re working the law enforcement trainings through the Mental Health Trust grant, and the next week you get the news that stops you in your tracks. My husband was diagnosed with cancer. This is his second time to this rodeo.

Our treatment options were limited when conventional radiation was ruled out by the Oncologist at St. Peter’s Hospital. We were fortunate to be referred, and accepted into the Proton Radiation Therapy program at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda California. This proton therapy unit is one of only five in the United States and the only one in the western US. Ken receives a treatment Monday-thru-Fridays for a total of 45 treatements. Anyway you count it, that’s nine weeks.

Technology is truly amazing and wonderful as I am telecommuting to work. Through the lap-top I can access files and folders, handle emails, etc. With the cell phone (and after some tech challenges have been worked out work) I can keep up on my daily calls, text, conference calls and keeping touch with Council members.

We are staying at a Residence Inn in San Bernardino about 10 minutes from the Medical Center, the address is: 1040 E. Harriman Place, San Bernardino, CA 92408. I am reachable by cell phone at 406-439-5077. If we are in an appointment, I will have the phone on silent, but please leave a message and I’ll return the call.

From both Ken and I, our sincere thanks for the calls and emails you have sent. Words cannot express how much they mean to us. We are counting the days until we come home to Montana.

Deborah Swingley
CEO, Executive Director

HHS Announces Technology-Enabled Services for Aging and Disability Resource Centers

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $25 million in funding over the next three years to support technology-enabled Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) in almost every state. The funding for the Aging and Disability Resource Center Program was made available to the community through the ACA, and in partnership with the Veteran’s Health Administration. The VHA will provide funding for parallel ADRCs at VA Medical Centers. 3

HHS intends for the money to be used to strengthen existing ADRCs that help people learn about the long-term service and support programs that are available. Eight of the most promising state programs will be selected to create one-on-one service counseling programs to streamline intake and give the most custom-tailored and comprehensive discussion of care options available.


UCP has provided its annual rankings comparing intellectual and developmental disability services and quality of life for people with disabilities in each state http://www.ucp.org/Thecaseforinclusion_fullnarrative_final.pdf. This year shows that:

  • 36 states are serving 80% or more people with disabilities in (PWD) community settings, with 22 states providing home-like care to 80% or more PWD;

  • 11 states and Washington D.C. have no institutions to seclude people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and 12 states have one;

  • 29 states are using National Core Indicators to assess the quality of care they offer to PWD.

UCP through the report, provides state score cards for individuals, families and advocates to use to inform policy makers of their state strengths and needs.

Federal Government Accountability Office Finds Agencies Not Reaching Disability Hiring Goals

Nearly two years after President Obama signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to hire 100,000 workers with disabilities by July 2015, the federal government is not on track to reach its goal according to a supplied by the Government Accountability Office http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-568. The report found that in 2010 and 2011, only 20,000 workers with disabilities were hired. Possible reasons for the failure include:

  • Many agencies have insufficient plans to employ people with disabilities, with almost half of all agencies lacking a goal of the number of people with disabilities that they intend to hire.

  • Many agencies do not have a senior employee responsible for carrying out the executive order.

  • The numbers represent self-reports from people with disabilities, so there is a concern that there may be under-reporting of disabilities.

In addition to better plans for hiring people with disabilities, the Government Accountability Office suggested that agencies need training to recruit and accommodate people with disabilities.

Mental Health and Law Enforcement Trainings Completed

It was a very busy spring in Council offices with the week long mental health/dual diagnosis trainings in April followed by the week long tour on law enforcement trainings. Dr. Robert Fletcher of NADD (formerly the National Association on Dual Diagnosis) provided training to approximately 471 total attendees in the following locations; Missoula, Great Falls, Helena and Bozeman. Marc Goldman who is a consultant through NADD trained approximately 47 law enforcement officers in Bozeman, Billings, Glasgow and Havre. Both trainings were very well received. We are now gearing up for the September repeat on both trainings which will run the week of September 10.

2012 January Newsletter

MDSC Seeking Director of Services

MDSC, a non-profit offering services for adults with severe developmental disabilities for the past 21 years in Missoula, has an executive team level position open due to expansion of the number of clients served. The position will oversee quality of services provided for clients by supervision/mentorship of program managers along with input from behavioral specialists, and medical services expertise. The position will act as liaison between state personnel and employees at MDSC, support and develop protocols/procedures for client care, and continually seek to accomplish goals for continuous quality improvements for clients and services staff. This position reports directly to the CEO of MDSC and includes involvement in strategic planning, budgeting, program development and reporting and compliance duties.

Hiring is planned for February 2012. Position requires graduation from accredited college with Bachelor’s Degree and minimum of two years supervisory experience and two years experience working in developmental disabilities or other closely related field. Apply by sending a cover letter with minimum salary requirement and detailed resume to kharrison@mdscmt.org. Deadline for resume submission is January 11, 2012. Call Karen at 406-258-0981 with questions. Find out more about MDSC at www.mdscmt.org.

MCDD Meeting January 12, 2012

The Council will be meeting by video conference on January 12, 2012. Member packets are in the mail with directions to the closest Fisher Video Conferencing location. Council members be sure and let Council staff know if you can’t attend the meeting – thanks!

AAPD Washington, DC Summer Internship Program Deadline is January 6

Each summer, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) hosts a summer internship program in Washington, DC for students with all types of disabilities. The program offers college students, law students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities the opportunity to work in public service for ten weeks on Capitol Hill, at federal agencies, nonprofits and for-profit businesses. This ten week experience gives interns the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the workforce. Interns receive a living stipend, expenses covered for travel to and from DC and fully accessible housing.

Applications must be received by 5:00pm EST on or before January 6, 2012. Apply online now! www.aapd.com/internship For additional information please contact AAPD at 202-52-4306 or by email to internship@aapd.com

Councils Hold Steady in FY2012 Appropriations

That sound you hear is the collective sigh-of-relief coming from the programs funded under the DD Assistance and Bill of Rights Act PL 106-402 that our funding for FFY12 is settled. All the programs are subject to a 0.189 across-the-board cut, which for Council’s makes our national program funding at $74,774,409. In light of the pressure to cut federal spending, this is a huge victory to have these programs remain essentially intact. How the cut will be applied is as yet unknown, and no funds from this appropriation are available at this point in time.