Legislative and policy advocacy is hard work. While many collaborations develop around "crisis" issues such as threats to Medicaid and the ACA and are incredibly effective, proactive collaborations have the added benefit of becoming "think tanks" for long-term, systemic change. The Disability Policy Alliance is a collaboration of agencies united to advance policies and practices affecting Tennesseans with disabilities and their families. Alliance members are affiliated with leading national organizations in the disability field. Skills and resources of member organizations are shared and maximized to more significantly impact public policy. The Disability Policy Alliance currently includes The Arc Tennessee, Disability Rights Tennessee, the Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Statewide Independent Living Council.
This session will explain the following:
1. The history of the Disability Policy Alliance and its evolving role in public policy at the state and federal levels
2. How the Disability Policy Alliance maximizes the strengths and resources of each member organization to impact public policy at the state and federal levels
3. Specific examples of public policy successes at the state and federal levels and the role each member organization played in the success
4. Specific examples of systems change influenced by our work
5. How the Disability Policy Alliance addresses/manages the occasional conflicting priority/position and maintains a united front
This session will benefit attendees by providing a model for collaboration that may help chapters of The Arc become more effective in their advocacy work at the state and federal level. With nearly every organization strapped for both financial and human resources, the Disability Policy Alliance has been an effective way for us to expand our public policy footprint through targeted legislative advocacy, proactive systems change, and the advancement of best practices in the field with other organizations that share our mission. In addition, there can be so much information around particular issues that it is nearly impossible to keep up with it all. The collaborative nature of the Disability Policy Alliance is such that we share information among our members, helping us all stay better informed.