BPDD serves as an independent advisor to the Governor and legislature on public policy issues that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Find out more about each issue below. 

Help Family Caregivers

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Family caregivers provide 80% of the care for children and adults with disabilities and older adults. To meet the care needs of family members, any Family Caregivers are leaving the workforce entirely (40%) or must cut down to part time (another 20%), often sacrificing employee sponsored health care, retirement, and limiting lifetime earnings.

Paid Direct Care Service Workforce

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Direct Care workers are skilled professionals who are responsible for health, safety, and intimate personal cares of people with disabilities and older adults. People with disabilities in Family Care, IRIS, the Children’s Long Term Support program rely on paid direct support and personal care workers get out of bed, stay clean, and eat. Family Care and IRIS began to make sure people could stay in their own homes, and out of more expensive Medicaid-funded nursing homes. A dedicated workforce is needed to make that happen and live up to the promise of community inclusion.

Special Education

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: People with disabilities’ path to successful productive lives in the community are founded in quality public education that meets the needs of all students, including those with disabilities. Students with disabilities are general education students first, and benefit smaller class sizes, adequate funding for social workers, nurses, psychologists, etc. Students with disabilities also may need specialized instruction and supports. Adequate funding for special education benefits all kids.

Non-Driver Transportation

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: 31 percent of Wisconsin citizens are non-drivers. Non-drivers include low income working people who do not own or have access to a car, people with disabilities, older adults, adults without drivers’ licenses, and people under age 16. Being or becoming a non-driver impacts every aspect of a person’s life—where they can live, work, whether they get health care. Non-drivers struggle every time they need be somewhere in person, often needing days or weeks in advance to arrange rides and caregivers and spending hours waiting. Most non-drivers have few transportation options and cannot affordably get where they need to go on time. 

Reducing Lead Poisoning

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Lead poisoning is a 100% preventable cause of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Wisconsin is among the top ten states for lead poisoning in children, and childhood lead poisoning rates remained largely unchanged over time.[1] There is no safe level of lead. Permanent damage occurs well before the amount lead in a child’s blood exceeds the statutory threshold for lead poisoning; Wisconsin’s statutory threshold (20) is 5 times greater than the CDC’s guidelines of 3.5. An estimated 35% of Wisconsin children are at risk of lead poisoning across the state.

Prevent and Respond to Abuse and Neglect

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities nationwide are 7 times more likely to be the victim of abuse and neglect.1 Unfortunately, the main predictors of abuse and neglect are common features in many people with disabilities daily lives and include: social isolation (lack of friendships and relationships beyond paid staff), social stigma related to a lack of respect for people with disabilities, lack of privacy within the residence, ignorance of individual rights, staff stress and lack of training, significant dependence on others, lack of control/decision-making, and lack of community participation.


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