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Your Voice Counts: Participating in a Children’s Community Options Program Advisory Committee

(#4 of 6 in Series)

Reviewed July 2024

The best way to improve the programs and services that support children with disabilities is for families to join decision-makers at the table to share their firsthand experiences. The views of parents/families on what works, what needs to be improved, and what can make programs more effective are exactly the type of input administrators need to hear.

Being part of a Children’s Community Options Program (CCOP) Advisory Committee is an example of how families can positively impact a program for children with disabilities. Each CCOP is administered by individual counties. As part of that responsibility, the county must convene and maintain an advisory committee, including parents of children with a variety of disabilities making up most of its members. (Wis. Stat. § 46.272 (4)(a)(1-3))



The Role of CCOP Advisory Committees

The goal of a CCOP Advisory Committee is to assist in developing the program plan, monitor the program, and provide input to the county agency. The committee looks at local services and identifies gaps and other needs in the program. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) gives direction to CCOP Advisory Committees to explore how to meet these needs through government, private sector, other community resources, or parent-to-parent activities.

Local CCOP Advisory Committees are required to review and update the program plan. This plan must include:

      • The number of families assessed and served,
      • priority groups,
      • how family’s needs are determined,
      • how service plans are monitored, and
      • other important aspects of running an effective CCOP program.

Once approved by the CCOP Advisory Committee, the agency submits the CCOP plan to the DHS Bureau of Children’s Services, for review and final approval.



Serving on a CCOP Advisory Committee

There is no set number of members in CCOP guidelines, they require that most of members be parents of children with disabilities. State law further requires that members should include:

      • Parents of children currently participating in the CCOP. As much as possible, parents should represent various disabilities, racial and ethnic groups.
      • Representatives from school districts, local health departments, human services and community programs.



The Benefits of CCOP Advisory Committee Membership

As a member of a CCOP Advisory Committee, you can influence a local program that has direct impact on the families in your community who have children with special health care needs. It is a great way to use your family’s lived experience to contribute and solve the problems in you may have experienced.

Tip for Families

Being a member of your county’s CCOP Advisory Committee can be a boost to your resumé. It is also a great way to start your family leadership journey!



Find CCOP Advisory Committee Openings in your Community

Start with a search of your county’s Human Services website or call your county Health Services office. CCOP meetings are open to the public, so attend a meeting before applying to see how the group functions and the topics covered.

Each county has its own process for screening new members. Ask the Advisory Committee chair or county CCOP or CLTS staff how to apply. This may be a formal application or a letter of interest. If there are no current openings, think about attending to watch the committee and offer ideas. When an opening comes up, the committee will remember your interest.

“It took some work to figure out when my county CCOP committee meets and how to get involved. When I attended a meeting to observe, I noticed there was not a single parent of children with disabilities on the committee. I hope more families recognize they deserve to be part of the decision-making process and they take the step to get involved.”  ꟷA Wisconsin Parent



Learn More about CCOP

See the CCOP webpage at dhs.wisconsin.gov/ccop/index.htm  and CCOP Guidance for Agencies, dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01780.pdf. This guidance has details on the roles and responsibilities of advisory committees.

Need a Mentor or Someone by Your Side?

If you would like support joining a committee, applying for membership on an advisory group, or getting more involved in family leadership in other ways, we are here to assist you! Contact Family Voices of Wisconsin and let us know what you need! Email Danielle@fvofwi.org.




To learn more about the role of families in leadership, see the Family Leadership fact sheet series and go to our Family Leadership webpage familyvoiceswi.org/family_leadership to learn about events and additional resources.

Contact Wisconsin Wayfinder: Children’s Resource Network, (877) WiscWay (877-947-2929).  Wayfinder offers Wisconsin families one name and number to streamline the journey of finding services for children with special health care needs. You will be connected to a resource guide in your area at one of the five Children’s Resource Centers.

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