Area Seeking to Establish a Regional Interagency Coordinating
Council to Promote Inclusion of Disabled Residents
by Rich Harp, The Huron Daily Tribune 11/18/2003
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HURON COUNTY -
For the second time in three months, a Huron County group of
citizens met to create a local Regional Interagency Coordinating
Primarily, the group came to receive input from Terry Hunt and
Angela Hoff. Hunt is a representative of the Michigan
Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC). Hoff is a
representative of the Blue Water Center for Independent Living (BWCIL).
The luncheon meeting, chaired by Hoff, was called to continue
the formation of an active Huron County Chapter of RICC. At
present, the county has a committee, but this is in name only.
Hoff's job is to build an active RICC, comprised of local
citizens, and to continue support until it is up and running by
To understand what a RICC is, one must first understand the MDDC,
the parent organization of all Michigan RICCs.
The Michigan Development Disabilities Council is a group of 21
citizens made up of: people with developmental disabilities,
people from families who have members with developmental
disabilities, and professionals charged with assisting people
with these disabilities.
Furthermore, the council acts as an advocate for these people,
and it is a strong voice working on behalf of those citizens.
The council is in charge of channeling federal funds, in the
form of grants, where they can do the most good. They also work
with other human service agencies to assist people with
In order to do these things, the MDDC must maintain and
financially support a very effective system of local networking
groups across the state. These groups are known as Regional
Interagency Coordinating Committees or RICCs. There are 40 RICCs
in the state, and each offers lines of communication and
information to local agencies that support people with
During the second informational meeting, Hunt listed some of the
things that local RICCs have accomplished. These things include
establishing transportation services, improving existing
services, and expanding these services.
They have met with legislators, so that they could better make
informed decisions. They also have established conferences to
further educate consumers and advocacy groups.
Hunt pointed out that the MDDC does not lobby for money. The
group works directly in conjunction with the federal
Developmental Disabilities Act and, therefore, receives funding
from the federal government.
In turn, the MDDC distributes about $3,000 to each of the
state's RICCs. Hunt made it perfectly clear that each RICC
needed "É a work plan to access the money." He went on to
discuss how each group would submit reports on how the money was
used, and that would be done four times a year. He also
discussed that each RICC would send a representative to Lansing
five times a year.
During the three-hour discussion, Hunt made clear the main focal
point of his organization.
"The focus of the MDD Council is inclusion," he said. "We feel
that the consumers need to be a part of the bigger community
Before the meeting ended, Hunt turned the microphone over to
Angela Hoff, representative of Blue Water Center for Independent
Living (BWCIL). Hoff acts as liaison to Tuscola, Sanilac and
Hoff pointed out that there used to be a local BWCIL in Bad Axe,
but it was closed due to budget cuts.
"I am advocating for some funds to reopen and staff an office in
Bad Axe," she said.
In regards to creating a functional RICC in Huron County, HOFF
said, "I am only the temporary chair person of the local RICC.
My goal is to have an independent Huron County RICC up and
running by Jan. 1, 2004."
Before adjourning, Hoff said the next informational meeting will
take place Wednesday in Bad Axe. Hoff indicated that she would
be present at that meeting, and she encouraged any interested
people to attend.
If anyone has questions about the previous two meetings or about
the one that will be conducted Wednesday, they should call the
local representative at (989) 269-2962 and ask for Marie.
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