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Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council releases new priorities for 2023

The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDOC) released its five priorities for the upcoming 2023 legislative session.

The first priority of the MDDOC is access to quality care.

Other priorities in the 2023 session include guardianship, segregation, abuse and neglect.

“There’s just an underrepresentation of the disability voice in legislative issues,” MDDOC Project Coordinator Leigh Anne Haun said. "I think that, fortunately, legislators are really open to hearing those experiences and considering them in legislation, but there's just a lot of barriers facing that community and getting their experiences heard."

The MDDOC is a federally-funded 23-member council appointed by the governor to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities have access to community services and other forms of assistance.

“The council is appointed by the governor and is unique in that it consists of families of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities... and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Haun said. “Which we often refer to as self-advocates.”

The MDDOC emphasizes individual input and hearing from the community to decide legislative priorities.

“These are informed decisions,” Miranda Frederick, communications coordinator for the MDDOC said. “We created these priorities based on those lived experiences from the council members, or their family members, and then a comprehensive review."

The MDDOC also plans to prioritize and create coordinated support between Missouri state agencies.

“We are a federally funded organization, and so we do not lobby,” Haun said. “We just provide, again, advocacy and education on these issues.”

Ava Neels studies journalism and Chinese language at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was born and raised in South City St. Louis.
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