Community Advocacy Coalition (CAC)

Organizations dedicated to ensuring community services exist and are funded for people with I/DD

Many Voices/One Vision
Community Advocacy Coalition

Core Values for Supporting Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities

(Revised August 2017)

Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) in Washington have much to contribute to the community, yet may need the support of families, advocates and government leadership to live a quality life.  Our many voices join in unison for one common vision: a community of full participation.

Our statewide member organizations of the Community Advocacy Coalition (CAC) for people with I/DD represent the interests and goals of more than 100,000 individuals, families, and employees in Washington State.

We collectively agree to the following principles, which we believe are core to full participation in every aspect of life.  We want to ensure that these actions are an integral part of all planning and service delivery efforts for individuals with I/DD in Washington State. We affirm the following fifteen principles:

1. Individuals with I/DD must be part of all planning, governance, leadership and implementation of the programs which affect them. “Nothing about us without us.” We also expect people to use respectful language and eliminate harmful, degrading labels.

2. Ensure equity and social justice for all individuals by reducing cultural, linguistic, and other barriers to information, education, and services as well as ensure access to accurate translations, interpreters with relevant training, and multiple formats for presentation of information.

3. Families who have children with I/DD often need some support to have equal access to full and rewarding family lives.  Having a child or adult with I/DD must not force a family into poverty or constant, lifelong worry.  More than 14,000 individuals as of October 1, 2016 are waiting for support and should receive the services they need.

4. Individualized quality early intervention supports and services must be affordable and accessible for all children with developmental delays or disabilities to maximize their social-emotional, physical,  communication, adaptive or cognitive (or intellectual) development. Early intervention should take place and is most effective in inclusive settings and natural environments so that they can have a meaningful life and be full participants in their communities.

5. All children with I/DD and their families should have access to inclusive, high-quality early childhood education and child-care settings. Being meaningfully included in all facets of society begins in early childhood and continues into schools, places of employment, and the broader community. Inclusive early learning and child care can set a trajectory for inclusion across the life course.

6. A free and appropriate public education must be provided in inclusive settings with peers of the same age and include individualized supports to all students with I/DD to prepare them for participation in our society. Restraints and seclusion for youth with disabilities have no place in our schools. A positive behavior support model must be in place, where behavior is recognized as communication.

7. Individuals need opportunities for meaningful jobs based on interest and skills, with minimum wage or higher pay that are up to 40 hours a week. People with I/DD contribute to our communities and the economy. People with I/DD in every community should have the supports to find integrated competitive employment in both urban and rural areas around the state.

8. Individuals with I/DD need opportunities to volunteer, enhance skills, serve in their community and participate in typical recreation and other community activities with supports, as needed, to have a full and meaningful life.

9. Individuals with I/DD may need support to live in communities in affordable housing and in local, inclusive neighborhoods, rather than segregated settings. Public funds must support communities that promote living, leisure, and working together in an integrated, culturally relevant society.

10. Individuals who choose to work directly with people with I/DD must be paid a living wage with competitive benefits.  They should not have to work two or three jobs to support themselves or their families.  This is essential work that must be valued and compensated accordingly.

11. Individuals’ choices and decisions must be supported and respected. Supported decision-making is preferred over taking away legal rights. Individuals with I/DD want to be listened to, have their rights protected and have decisions made that honor the person’s preferences. 

12. Individuals with I/DD have a right to live their lives free from abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Where abuse happens, it should be responded to promptly, effectively and respectfully and must not re-traumatize the person. 

13. Parents with I/DD should have access to supports to raise their own families. Rather than being subjected to enhanced scrutiny and loss of parental rights based on stereotypes. Parents with I/DD should have access to services tailored to their needs, offered in-home, and if needed, available throughout the development of the child.

14. Every individual with I/DD or their family member should have access to opportunities to advocate for themselves.  

15. Medicaid and other public benefits are vital to individuals with I/DD. All public benefits must be protected, promoting inclusion for individuals in their communities and allowing control of the funds spent on their behalf. All programs must be provided in a way that supports individuals’ unique needs.

If you believe your organization supports these principles and is interested in membership, please send a request to with your name, organization name, your email, and a short description of what your organization does. For additional information, please contact the CAC Co-chairs:

Melissa Lund - Kitsap County Parent Coalition

Brandi Monts - Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE)