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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. Our views 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. CCOP is administered by individual counties. As part of that responsibility, each county must convene and maintain an advisory committee, with parents of children with a variety of disabilities making up the majority of its members. (Wis. Stat. § 46.272 (4)(a)(1-3))

What is 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.

Can I Serve on a CCOP Advisory Committee?

While there is no set number of members, CCOP guidelines require that the majority of members be parents of children with disabilities. State law requires that members should include:

  • Parents of children who are currently participating in the CCOP. To the maximum extent possible, parents represent various disability, 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 local CCOP advisory committee, you have an opportunity to influence a local program that directly impacts families who have a child with special health care needs. It is a great way to use your family’s lived experience to contribute and solve problems in your community.

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 an searchof 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 that are covered.

Each county is allowed to have its own process for screening 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?

Contact Family Voices of Wisconsin! Our staff can help you apply for a CCOP advisory committee or assist you in finding another committee, council or advisory group in your area. Family Voices also hosts events and learning sessions to support parents and family members to increase their leadership confidence, skills and knowledge. This includes the WiFLI: Wisconsin Family Leadership Institute .

Learn more  about the role of families in leadership, see the rest of the Family Voices, Family Leadership fact sheet series and go to our Family Leadership webpage familyvoiceswi.org/family_leadership for resources.


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