Sunday, February 11, 2007

Unlock Action Alert: 2,000 MRWP Slots for 2008 DHR Budget..

Found the following Unlock The Waiting Lists Action Alert while suggesting UNLOCK as a resource with respect to a question regarding MRWP (Mental Retardation Waiver Program) services..

The Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR), recommended approximately 2,000 new Mental Retardation Waiver Program services (MRWP) for the FY08 budget to unlock the waiting lists for home and community based services!

The [Georgia] Governor has presented his budget to the General Assembly on January 10th, cutting the DHR's proposal by 500 services and funding 1,500 new MRWP services with $12.2M to Unlock Georgia's waiting lists for disability supports. We sincerely appreciate the Governor's commitment to fund these services for people with disabilities.

However, the multiple year funding plan to Unlock Georgia’s waiting lists for disability supports calls for 2,000 Mental Retardation Waiver Program (MRWP) services for the FY08 budget.

A handful of talking points UNLOCK provided about Georgia's waiting lists..

  • Its a fact that the waiting list that grows by approximately 1,100 people each year.
  • Over 700 students with disabilities graduating every year to adult waiting lists.
  • With over 6,400 people currently waiting for help, we must remain committed!
  • There are over 17,000 individuals with disabilities living with caregivers over the age of 60!

UNLOCK additionally provides links to a sample letter along with tips on successfully, respectfully advocating for all of Georgia's citizens currently locked away from full community inclusion.. Never forget your Voice counts.. This is another great way to use it effectively..

Friday, February 9, 2007

MHDDAD: Certified Peer Specialist Training (Mental Health)..

Certified peer specialist (CPS training regularly comes up lately on various listservs I frequent.. The following offers an opportunity for more individuals to participate in the same..

As a graduate of Georgia Peer Support Project (PSP), a like-minded project that persons of all disabilities, all parties involved profit incredibly from programs just such as these.. Good luck to all who apply..

Georgia Department of Human Resources :: Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases (MHDDAD)
Two Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 22.224
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3171
Phone: 404-657-2100

Carol Coussons de Reyes / Director / Consumer Relations and Recovery Section
2 Peachtree St., NW
Suite 23-411 / Atlanta, GA 30303

Greetings from the Consumer Relations and Recovery Section:

We are pleased to announce the upcoming March 2007 certification training for Peer Specialists at Simpsonwood Lodge and Conference Center in Norcross, GA. The Georgia CPS Project is an initiative of the Division of MHDDAD in partnership with the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network ( Please note the training schedule, cost, and application procedure below. Attached please also see the required application material for prospective participants.

This March 2007 training marks our 18th to date. There are approximately 340 Certified Peer Specialists in GA, as well as those who have joined us for training from 12 other states and Canada. Certified Peer Specialists (CPSs) work in a variety of settings both within and outside of the mental health system and are leaders in some of GA’s newest initiatives: The Medical College of GA has hired a CPS to bring strengths based recovery and the concept of peer support to student physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists. CPSs in Milledgeville are supporting consumers currently transitioning from long term hospitalization into the community under the Olmstead Law. A CPS in partnership with clinical providers in a traditional system has created The Peer Support Specialist Program of the Veteran’s Administration in Augusta. The dynamic energy of CPSs in the mental health system is a testimony to the power of recovery. The support that many CPSs receive from the system is a testimony to the investment that Georgia has made in recovery. Every CPS, as a recovery agent, has lived experience and expertise that is invaluable to the system. May the light of recovery shine for all to see!

As a consumer leader, I can assure you that Georgia is invested in recruiting consumer leadership. The Consumer Relations and Recovery Section of the Division of MHDDAD is currently looking for a CPS to join the staff as the Director of the CPS Project. The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network continues under the leadership of a CPS Executive Director. The partnership forged by these organizations has underscored Georgia’s determination to be a leader in mental health system transformation. Each and every CPS is a leader for their agency or center.

The National Institute of Medicine promotes the GA CPS Project as a model for other states to emulate. Weekly, the Consumer Relations and Recovery Section gets calls from other states asking, “How did you do it?” The Project has also been identified as an “innovative and exceptional practice” by the Annapolis Coalition on Behavioral Health Workforce. The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will release a Resource Kit, Building a Foundation for Recovery: How States Can Bill Medicaid for Peer Support Services and Train a Workforce of Peers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently endorsed peer support services, a milestone accomplishment that will allow other states to tap into a steady funding mechanism for peer support services.

When there is hope in recovery, there is power in the present.

Training Schedule

Week One: March 5 –March 9, beginning at 9am on March 5, and ending on Friday, March 9 at 2pm

Week Two: March 12 –March 14, beginning at 1pm on March 12, and ending on Wednesday March 14 at 12 noon

Cost: Hotel accommodations and meals are included. Single Occupancy: $90 per night (tax exempt individuals), $104.94 per night (with tax). Double Occupancy per person: $71 per night (tax exempt individuals), $75.26 per night (with tax)

Registration Fee: $85.00

Deadline: for all application materials is February 12TH.

For more information, including criteria for acceptance go to and select "Trainings" or contact Jill Viles, secretary, at 404-657-2103; email If you have any difficulties you can contact Carol Coussons de Reyes by leaving a message with Jill or by emailing her at

Resource: Sharon McDaniel, disABILITY LINK.

ASA GGC: Annual ASA GGC Conference..

Annual ASA GGC Conference -- April 13-14, 2007 (Friday and Saturday)

Gwinnett Conference Center, Duluth, GA


*Please note the change in dates. Keep an eye on their website for updates.

Resource: Regular ASA GGC emailing.

Georgia: Disability Day at the State Capitol and Freight Depot..

Join a thousand plus other individuals on Thursday, February 22, 2007, for Disability Day at the Georgia State Capitol.. This yearly advocacy and self-advocacy event is featured first and foremost by the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD)..

From these fingertips: This is an opportunity to personally drop off something regarding each our every Life's stories.. Hard copy of what Life with your disability brings along with personal pictures as an introduction and a reminder later bring it on Home to our state legislators..

Special Note: According to the GCDD website, it appears registration has already been closed for lunch.. Breakfast registrations are still open..

Tentative Agenda

  • 9:30am :: Breakfast at the Depot
  • 11:00am :: "Make It Real!" Rally at the Capitol Steps
  • 12:30pm :: Lunch at the Depot (Registration is closed for lunch as of 1/29/2007)

Registration is required to attend breakfast or lunch. Due to limited space, early registration is recommended. While registration is closed for lunch, we encourage people to register for breakfast and attend the rally.

For travel assistance for people with disabilities and family members, contact Hilary Elliott at disABILITY LINK, (404) 687-8890 Ext. 106.

Hotel rooms are available at a reduced rate at the Holiday Inn Select Atlanta Capitol Conference Center. To make reservations, call the hotel directly at 1-800-442-6011 and ask for the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities hotel block.

Resource: GCDD website, (888) ASK-GCDD.