Real & Meaningful Community Engagement
Real & Meaningful Community Engagement is necessary to assure quality policy/program development and review. It must include proper orientation, culturally competent facilitators and proper supports for constituents. All processes must be accessible.
Policy development and/or review must not begin until there is intentional action to assure that constituent voice is adequate and any supporting data has been provided and explained. Constituent voice is never represented by one person or one disability. Real & meaningful community engagement includes consulting with several independent advocacy groups to determine the number or percentage of constituents appropriate for that specific process.
Real & Meaningful Community Engagement is when:
- Public funded entities engage constituents that are impacted by the targeted issue;
- There is an interaction and feedback public process, not just announcements, among all parties;
- Facilitators know how to get relevant information from people, including those with unique communication styles.
- Constituents are provided pre-meeting support for costs associated with participation, including but not limited to:
- Parking and/or cost of transportation
- Cost of lunch if applicable
- other aids that are reimbursed for providers, but not for volunteers
- cost of attendants if necessary (including the above items)
- A structured and defined transparent decision making process that includes prioritizing constituent voice.
- Constituents receive orientation, training and support assuring their active participation.
- Standards exist that assure no one person or persons can deny, control and/or ignore constituent input.
- There are several types of participants including stakeholders and constituents.
Persons with Disabilities (PWD) have a lot to say about a lot of things. Real and meaningful community engagement must include more than one person and more than one disability.
This is not a drill … PWD are you ready to get involved? Together let’s make real and meaningful community engagement for PWD a reality.
Real and meaningful community engagement is more than a rubber stamp! Meaningful engagement is demonstrated when all parties listen, share and take action together.
Our future is best planned today … we must demand real and meaningful disability community engagement. Nothing about us without us, ever!
 Culturally Competent: The ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, including different disability cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
 Constituent is an individual whose personal life is affected by the outcome of the policies, programs, rules, etc., impacting services and supports.
 Accessible: It must comply with the provisions of the ADA including but not limited to effective communication, a reasonable process to request modification of policies, practices and procedures, and full compliance with all regulations.
 Intentional: Deliberate or purposeful action which gathers all the elements related to a specific issue, allowing groups to work collectively, effectively and thoroughly to achieve an outcome.
 Adequate is the minimum standard that all affected people agree to as a starting point toward make a sound decision. There is a minimum level of quality everyone agrees on to complete the task at hand.
 Independent Advocacy services are provided to someone with his or her consent and without conflict of interest, acting with and on behalf of an individual or a class of people in the least intrusive manner allowing the individual to manage the decisions being made as appropriate.
 Unique Communication: -The distinct ways people have of expressing their thoughts or feelings that are individual often because of their disability.
 Stakeholders: Anyone with an interest in the topic.
 Person with Disabilities (PWD) refers to a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
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