Supporting Families Community of Practice 2017 Annual Meeting Highlights

On May 16, 2017, systems change agents from across the country convened at the Country Club Plaza Marriott in Kansas City, Missouri, for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the National Community of Practice for Supporting Families of Individuals With I/DD.

Photo: Supporting Families CoP Golden CirclesThe meeting was kicked off with a welcome from Mary Lee Fay, director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS). After Mary Lee’s welcome, Barbara Brent, co-director of the Supporting Families CoP, introduced Larissa Crossen, the CoP project officer from Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Then, Sheli Reynolds, co-director of the CoP, provided a reflection on the Community of Practice over the past five years and the vision for the day.  Sheli shared the Golden Circles (developed by Simon Sinek – for the Community of Practice with the attendees.

Supporting Families CoP Innovations Area: Reframing

The first part of the morning was spent with state teams sharing at their tables, describing their visions for supported families in their states, honing in on their state team structure, and discussing how teams are reframing systems change efforts at all levels to enhance supports to families across the lifespan using the principles of the Charting the LifeCourse Framework.

After lunch, attendees began focusing in on the national innovation areas that have surfaced as a result of the project. Attendees split into workgroups and discussed key aspects and considerations of their respective innovation. Then, state teams discussed the innovation areas and where their states were in terms of each area and what next steps their teams might take to enhance activities or bolster supports to families in those areas.

The day concluded with reflections from attendees and national project staff. However, the collaboration and sharing did not end there!

The Charting the LifeCourse Showcase was hosted in conjunction with the Supporting Families CoP Annual Meeting on May 17-18, 2017, in Kansas City, Missouri, by the UMKC Institute for Human Development in partnership with the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services. For details about the Showcase, please visit

On behalf of the National CoP Project leadership, we want to thank everyone who attended the Supporting Families 2017 Annual Meeting and Charting the LifeCourse Showcase in Kansas City! We can’t wait to see everyone again next year and see what amazing things have happened as we move forward in our efforts to enhance supports to individuals and their families across the United States!


Rachel is the Media & Design Specialist on the Family to Family team at the UMKC-Institute for Human Development, UCEDD. She completed her Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management at UMKC. She is proud to say she is a second generation AmeriCorps member! Her passion is where social justice and technology meet. Her specialty is making projects, programs, and organizations look good.

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