The following description of SAC projects will be updated periodically to provide information on progress towards committee objectives.


Committee Members: SAC

The SAC received a briefing on the waiver application at its February 2008 meeting. The opportunities and challenges of self-determination to consumers and families were discussed. SAC member will benefit from regular updates on the waiver. Members will help communicate the waiver and its implications to CAB members, consumers and families in a variety of ways: topic of SAC / CAB Chairs monthly conference call; soliciting input for a "Frequently Asked Questions" webpage segment; and supporting clear and frequent communications to the DDS community.

The Waiver Committee will also work closely with the Autism Committee in regards to that waiver.

Specific products/outcomes are to be determined.


Committee Members: Marji Erickson Warfield, Lisa Ching, Christine Shane, Maria Fereccero

The role of the SAC vis-à-vis the Autism Division requires clarification. As a new program, it presents an opportunity for SAC and Departmental citizen leadership collaboration particularly in regards to input on policy, evaluation, and communication with our community.

The Committee met with Dr. George and Cariann Harsh for an update on program outreach to families and the selection process. Suggestions were given regarding the Professional Advisory Group (PAG). Further discussions will be held regarding evaluating the project that subsumes federal requirement and operational helpful data.

Specific products/outcomes include design of evaluation instrument, clarification of SAC/Autism Division relationship; and others to be determined.

Self-Advocacy & Self- Determination

Committee Members: Deborah Hart & Douglas Russell, Reggie Clark, Hank Paszko, Maria Damiano, Lisa Ching, Barbara Mazzella*, Dan Shannon*

This committee focuses on overarching SAC priorities: to promote and sustain self-advocacy and to maximize the benefits of self-determination. Committee objectives include increasing self-advocate participation on Citizen Advisory Boards (CAB) including the SAC; building collaborative relations with Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS); encourage a community transformative environment supportive of self-advocacy; and supporting self-determination programmatically, socio-politically, and in its various expressions.

Potential products/outcomes are guidelines for self-advocacy support in CABs, increased number of self-advocates in CABs, joint community education projects with MASS, and materials and other communications regarding self-determination.

Emergency Preparedness

Committee Members: Hank Paszko, Lusa Lo, Ron Asbjornson, Denise Daley

Events of recent years demonstrate the need for preparedness for emergencies that require the relocation and response to one or two individuals or to the thousands of individuals in our community. The Emergency Preparedness Committee has representation on the Steering Committee for the Task Force on Emergency Preparedness and People Requiring Additional Assistance (the Task Force) and contributes to the development of the Massachusetts State Emergency Preparedness Plan. For our community, the committee seeks to enhance its knowledge base on the multiple issues related to emergency preparedness; provide guidance and materials to Citizen Advisory Boards (CABs); and develop its strategy to support emergency preparedness.

Specific products/outcomes are under discussion.

On-Going Priorities

Budget/Legislative Advocacy

Members: SAC

The SAC is committed to enhancing its skills in budget and legislative advocacy. Members have communicated with their legislators regarding the current budget and will cultivate an ongoing relationship. Plans are underway to develop a select group of CAB Chairs as part of a more intense advocacy training and to eventually include all Chairs and all CAB members.

The SAC will meet periodically with the Department's Executive Staff for a more detailed analysis of the Department's budget and implications / opportunities of changes in allocations.

Family/Direct Care Worker Relationships (Diversity)

Members: Lusa Lo, Maria Damiano, Denise Daley, Reggie Clark, Douglas Russell, Jr.

Acknowledging the inherent tension between families and direct care workers, the SAC is working with the Department's Diversity Committee to identify and ameliorate contributing factors to this tension, particularly those relating to ethnicity and other aspects of diversity. Review of previous strategies and a survey of current practices and policies are being undertaken. The SAC seeks to work with CABs and other stakeholders to establish preventive and early intervention mechanisms that support family/direct care worker collaborations.

Quality Enhancement: Family Citizen Monitoring

Members: Hank and Ann Paszko, Maria Freccero

Family Citizen Monitoring (FCM) is a CAB/family designed and implemented approach to quality enhancement. In support of FCM, the SAC works with CABs to develop consistent guidelines and method for data collection. SAC members are also available to enhance CAB FCM skills through training and consultation. The SAC conducts periodic survey to assess the intensity and impact of Family Citizen Monitoring and how the findings are integrated into overall quality enhancement.

Citizen Advisory Board

Members: Ron Asbjornson, Reggie Clark

Citizen Advisory Boards are the mainstay of our partnership with communities. The SAC monitors the activities and level of participation of CABs. Opportunities to improved communications between CABs and with the SAC are acted on such as monthly conference calls of key topics and an annual reTREAT.

The SAC seeks to increase CAB engagement and membership. Particular emphasis is given to participation of self-advocates and increasing membership diversity.

Turning 22

Members: Marji Erickson Warfield, Deb Hart, Maria Damiano, Maria Freccero, Lisa Ching, Chris Shane

This gateway to our services contains significant implications for future services. Individuals with disabilities and their families bring different expectations to us in regards to services and supports. This SAC committee seeks to increase its knowledge base regarding the pool of potential applicants, the communications with the education system, and the challenges in transitioning from educational to adult services. Meetings with our staff for updates on the strategy, literature and data review, and clarification of the SAC role are key committee objectives. Prospective products/outcomes are under development.

Web Page

Members: Ron Asbjornson, Douglas Russell, Jr., Dick Faucher*, John Wheeler*

The SAC/CAB has a web page on the Department's website with great potential for strengthening the SAC/CAB network and enhancing communication. Members seek to review the web page for opportunities to enhance its accessibility to individuals with disabilities, particularly intellectual disabilities, and increase its utility to Citizen Advisory Boards.

*connotes non-SAC members

Work Plan

Following is the annual Statewide Advisory Council (SAC) Work Plan. It was first formulated at the January 2008 SAC reTREAT and will undergo periodic revisions as tasks are accomplished and new information is obtained. We hope that it helps you to better understand the work of the SAC and provides guidance to Citizen Advisory Boards (CAB) on the work to be done.

The Plan identifies the 2008 Key SAC Priorities: WAIVER, AUTISM, SELF-ADVOCACY/SELF-DETERMINATION, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS as well as ongoing priorities. Information is provided on the ACTIONS sought and the ACTIVITIES to achieve the results. Periodically, Updates will be provided on SAC committee progress on these matters.

Your comments and feedback on the work plan is welcomed. They can be sent to or (617) 624-7755.


This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.