DDA Quarterly Message - Fall 2021

Developmental Disabilities Administration

October 11, 2021

Greetings All,

I hope that you are doing well during these unusual times.  I had hoped to be out travelling to meet with clients, families, and others interested in the Developmental Disabilities Administration.  With uptick in COVID cases, those plans have been pushed out.

Recently, I let DDA staff know that we acknowledge the toll that this pandemic is taking on our clients and their families, our staff, and their families - on people in general. I shared with them how important it is to remind ourselves of what is and what is not within our control. While we continue to practice safety measures, we must also be mindful that some things are beyond our control. Our self-care is as important as the care and support we provide to others. If you or a loved one is facing difficulties, please reach out to resources available to you including friends, family as well as professional resources like your doctor.

As you can imagine, we have continued supporting and engaging with more than 48,000 DDA clients statewide. Our mission is clear and does not waiver - we transform lives by providing support and fostering partnerships that empower individuals to live the lives they choose. This includes listening and engaging with our working partners - you. Your input and engagement in the work is valuable and necessary to develop services and supports that are meaningful. 

Currently, DDA is in full swing with many projects and below are a few examples:

  • In July, I presented DDA's goals and other work to the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Planning for Aging and Disability Issues.
  • Contacting individuals, in their language, who are enrolled with DDA but are not receiving a paid service. We are pleased to report so far, over 1,700 folks have responded.
  • Enrolling more DDA clients into a home and community-based waiver due to the legislative investment.
  • Meeting with stakeholders to discuss our 2022 legislative proposal regarding a technical change to the Children’s Intensive In Home Behavior Supports, RCW 71A.24.010 and RCW 71A.24.020, to align with federal requirements to ensure continued federal funding for these services. 
  • Fully leaning into virtual work spaces with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GovDelivery messaging and more.
  • Working with our incredible community and partners to co-host the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Listening Sessions.
  • Planning for the 2022 Community Summit!
  • Partnering with the Developmental Disabilities Council to announce available Dan Thompson Memorial Trust Account Funds.
  • Planning for and implementing new project investments from the legislature including peer mentoring and the Stabilization, Assessment Intervention Facility program.

Our challenges have been directly tied to the COVID pandemic response and recovery. Some examples of these are:

  • Aiding in the pandemic response of DDA 24/7 Facilities, Contracted Facilities, and State Operated Living Alternatives and vaccination efforts.
  • Mitigating staffing shortages both in state operated and community residential programs.
  • Ensuring specialized contracted rates are available to providers.
  • Maintaining a healthy and engaged workforce also grieving or suffering loss.

We have learned so much through the course of the pandemic. There are so many ways to engage with the community. We are committed to continue to engage with our clients, their families, and our stakeholders by using an approach that will include technology. We will be providing updates quarterly and look forward to working with you on these efforts.

I look forward to meeting folks around the state to develop stronger working partnerships.

Contact us for questions or feedback.