Council on Community Advocacy (COCA)


About COCA

The AUCD Board of Directors has established a number of Councils and Committees that are made up of experts in the field to help the Board address emerging trends and issues, and to facilitate communication across and beyond the AUCD network. The Council on Community Advocacy, also known as COCA, is made up of individuals with disabilities and family members from each University Center across the AUCD network.

COCA assists AUCD to advance policy and practice for and with people with disabilities, their families and communities. The Council helps the association to:

  • Build effective partnerships with other AUCD Councils and Committees, federal agencies, and other national disability groups.
  • Build the capacity of local University Center Consumer Advisory Committees (CACs), including identifying needs for assistance, providing technical assistance, and disseminating information about exemplary and innovative practices.
  • Envision, actively advocate for, and disseminate information about the next generation of policy and practice that will help make the promise of full participation a reality.
  • Develop leaders and mentors that build the capacity of the network to affect change at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Assist in the development of standards for participation of people with disabilities and family members in UCEDD education, research, and service programs and in AUCD functions.
  • Serve as a model and resource for others desiring to infuse the participation people with disabilities and family members into program planning, research, and evaluation.

The Council on Consumer Affairs first convened in the fall of 1994. The Council was formed as a result of AUCD's (formerly AAUAP) increasing recognition of the importance of receiving consistent and ongoing consumer feedback. Start-up activities were funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, through a Project of National Significance entitled "Leadership and Choices." Principle support was provided by Bruce Eddy of AUCD and Carl Calkins of the University of Missouri/Kansas City, Missouri's UCEDD.

The Council leadership structure includes several internal committees and two co-chairs. 1998 By-Laws stipulate that one co-chair must be an individual with a disability, and the other be the family member of an individual with a disability. The three-year, staggered co-chair positions carry with them a slot on AUCD's Board of Directors.

Full Council membership consists of one representative of each UCEDD, designated by that UCEDD's director. The Council continues to strive to meet its long-term goal of full membership.

In 2003-2004, AUCD made a commitment to revitalize the role of COCA within the network. Past President of AUCD, David Johnson appointed an ad hoc COCA Workgroup. This workgroup, chaired by Carl Calkins, solicited feedback from the AUCD network and met several times to develop a renewed vision to strengthen the role of COCA. A final set of recommendations was produced and presented to the board and UCEDD Directors at the UCEDD Directors' retreat May 2-3, 2005 in Chicago, IL.


New on the COCA Web Pages



Announcing National Disability Voter Registration Week 2017

The REV UP Campaign coordinates National Disability Voter Registration Week each year to increase the political power of people with disabilities while also engaging candidates and the media to recognize the disability community. This year, National Disability Voter Registration Week will be held on July 17-21, 2017.



UC UCEDD takes part in Cincinnati Reelabilities Film Festival to Reach 12,000+ with Films on Disability

This year, March 9-12 marks the fourth year University of Cincinnati UCEDD will participate in the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival. ReelAbilities presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities, while also planning initiatives around town related to accessibility and inclusion. The film has grown exponentially in recent years to expand to year-round programming that has led to city-wide discussions around employment of people with disabilities to school-based film screenings to promote inclusion of students with disabilities.



A Personal Story of a Cultural Broker (MA UCEDD/LEND)

By Oanh Thi Thu Bui, Diversity Fellow, Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston

To increase equity and access while respecting the unique cultural values of families from diverse communities, service providers must reach out to and reciprocally engage parents. By building mutual relationships and offering appropriate materials, cultural brokering groups like mine can empower parents and ensure service provision is culturally and linguistically appropriate.



Disability Advocates Warn Against Overturning Education Rules

AUCDs Kim Musheno quoted in Disability Scoop

Many disability advocates oppose a resolution under consideration in Congress that would do away with education regulations finalized last year by the Obama administration.



Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports Survey

The Arc, in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota (MN LEND), has launched the 2017 Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports Survey which seeks to capture perceptions of family caregivers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) on a range of life-span issues.



2016-17 MNLEND Fellow Publishes!

Jack Reagan, current 2016-17 MNLEND Fellow recently co-published a brief based on the FINDS 2010 data surveying family caregivers. The data he analyzed within the FINDS survey focused on the emotional and physical markers affecting family caregivers. These markers have both positive and negative association to their related outcomes for family caregivers.



APHA Disability Section Call for 2017 Awards Nominations

Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution through scholarship, teaching, practice and/or advocacy to advance the health and quality of life of people with disabilities or an especially dedicated student? Now is the time to nominate a colleague for one of the 2017 APHA Disability Section Awards!



Innovative Trainings in Deaf-Blindness (SD UCEDD)

Children who have deaf-blindness miss out on opportunities for learning that other children receive incidentally or naturally as those without sensory impairment have access to the many sights and sounds from their environment. These missed opportunities can result in a sense of isolation from others and problems in communication skill development, concept formation, and overall learning. In the school setting deaf-blindness is considered a disability of access to the visual and auditory information provided in educational environments.



RTC:Rural Brings National Attention to Importance of Accessible Housing in Rural Communities (MT UCEDD)

The lack of accessible housing is one of the biggest barriers people with disabilities face in their communities. Having a home that suits one's needs facilitates self-care and accessing the community, critical elements of independent living. Living in a home that doesn't meet one's needs can make accessing community more difficult and even impossible.



Shelly Baer Receives Impact Award from Parent to Parent of Miami (FL UCEDD/LEND)

Shelly Baer, LCSW, Director of Leadership Training Initiatives at Mailman Center for Child Development in the Department of Pediatrics, won the Impact Award from Parent to Parent of Miami. The goal of Parent to Parent of Miami's Journey of Dreams Benefit is to honor individuals in our community who are dedicated to improving and promoting initiatives that benefit children and adults with disabilities and their families. Individuals are honored in the following categories: Excellence in Family Advocacy, IMPACT, and Family Empowerment.



AUCD's Letter Expressing Concern Regarding Betsy DeVos's Responses to Questions about Education for Students with Disabilities

AUCD has submitted a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, expressing serious concerns with several responses to questions that Betsy DeVos provided at her confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Education. As the Senate moves to vote on her nomination, AUCD calls upon Mrs. DeVos to clarify her support for the federal government's role in ensuring that every child with a disability receives a free, appropriate public education in a manner that is consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

pdf File AUCD letter to Senate leaders expressing concern over Betsy DeVos's nomination for Secretary of Education [download]


Three UCEDDs Receive Nearly $150,000 in Grants from the Special Hope Foundation

Research, Design and/or Integrate Diversity/Cultural Competency Curricula in Healthcare for the IDD Population: A Partnership with Self-Advocates

The Special Hope Foundation is pleased to announce that three University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) were selected for funding of their training projects. The grants will support a variety of programs providing training for healthcare providers, interpreters and other health professionals in integrating a culturally responsive framework in healthcare services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All projects include Self-Advocates as leaders, trainers and in oversight roles. The applications were carefully reviewed and considered by the Foundation's Board and staff as well as the Special Hope Foundation's Self-Advocate Advisory Committee and medical providers at the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD), with whom the Special Hope Foundation partners in all Request for Proposals (RFP) funding cycles.


Upcoming Events
of Interest to
COCA Members

AUCD Leadership Academy - Deadline Extended  Copy to Calendar
Sunday, June 25, 2017 - Friday, June 30, 2017

More Events >