Partners in Policymaking
Partners in Policymaking is an internationally recognized training initiative that prepares and motivates people with disabilities and their families to be effective advocates in seeking improved policies and supports.
The Partners program covers a range of topics, from the history of disability policy, inclusive education, supported and independent employment and communicating effectively in meetings to interacting with policy leaders, legislators and the media. There are eight two-day meetings during the program year, all on weekends, making it easier for people to participate. Learn more.
Participants in Partners include adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, parents of a child with such a disability, and other support individuals. There is no cost to participants for the program, travel or accommodations, as the Partners program receives funding from the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities.
The program is based on the belief that the most significant and enduring public policy decisions have been brought about through the efforts of those most affected by them, working together with public officials and policy specialists. National and state leaders on disability issues present at the sessions, which emphasize active participation by all of those attending.
"This is all about having individuals becoming confident in themselves and in the knowledge they will gain, and comfortable in sharing life experiences and expertise with others," said Deborah Whitfield, the executive director of the North Carolina Partners program.
Comments from Partners Graduates
"The program has been invaluable to me. When my daughter Eleanor was born, I had no understanding of the magnitude of 'Disability World.' The lingo was different, a multitude of different services and programs, all the different (and often times overlapping) state and federal organizations were set up to help out but just caused confusion…it was too much! After finishing PIP, I realized that I will never know everything about Disability World, but I am still my child's best advocate. I have a voice. I also have lots of alumni to turn to for help with any questions or problems I know I will have throughout Eleanor's lifetime. This is the greatest advantage I have! PIP gave me confidence."
Kristine Flora, Raleigh, Partners 2008