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February is here, so I’m super late but wishing everyone a Happy New Year from Jacob. I am Jacob’s mom and covering for Jacob as 2019 has started out as a deep struggle for him. Having the complicated medical, sensory, emotional, mental. Intellectual, and spiritual needs that Jacob possesses, makes for a very difficult life and effects his ability to blog. So here I am! I want to ask YOU to do something VERY important for Jacob and actually for many of us in the state of Georgia. Simply by responding to this online survey, you can help improve the lives of Georgians with mental illnesses, addictive diseases, and intellectual/developmental disabilities and strengthen community actions in prevention and early intervention. Although you may not feel this applies to you right now, it could at some point affect your life as you may not realize what the person next to you or a family member is struggling to overcome. Because of Jacob, I am involved in several state agencies that affect individuals utilizing government services. One of these is the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities DBHDD, which is a monitoring and regulatory agency for State and Federal funding. Funding is dispersed via various waivers, each with specific criteria and services. Jacob has a waiver that provides direct support in the home and community. The Regional Advisory Council of DBHDD, is made of stakeholders like parents and professionals, who are appointed by their county commissioners. I am on the Regional Advisory Council and Statewide Leadership Council of DBHDD who created this survey to gather important information from their communities, identify the gaps in services, and share this information with the Commissioner of DBHDD and other government officials. Our goal is to hear from 8,000 Georgians representing all 150 counties. The survey period will close on April 15, 2019. We plan to issue a report in June 2019 displaying data on a county by county, regional, and statewide basis. The survey is free, anonymous, brief and open to ALL residents of Georgia. Below are the links to the English and Spanish versions. English: www.surveymonkey.com/r/GeorgiaNeeds Spanish: www.surveymonkey.com/r/spGeorgiaNeeds Please respond to the survey yourself, encourage others to participate, and share this information on your social media. I hope you will consider passing this information to your colleagues, friends, family members, and others interested in improving the lives of people in Georgia. Thank you so much for allowing me to share and for helping people with disabilities gain independence and recovery and helping communities strengthen prevention and early intervention. Your voice is so important and especially for those who may not be able to speak for themselves. Blessings, Debbie Harbin Jacob’s mom

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