The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is mandated by the federal Developmental Disabilities Act to educate policy makers about how their decisions impact children and adults with disabilities. One way we educate policy makers is to provide leadership education and support to local advocates like Jackie Mohler of Family Outreach, Inc. in Helena, MT. She recently represented Montana at the AUCD Leadership Academy (https://disability.publichealth.gsu.edu/academy/).
Upon her return and with the Rural Institute's continued support, Jackie partnered with State Representative Mary Caferro (D-Helena) to establish the statewide disability advocacy group, Montana Disability Voices (https://www.mtdisabilityvoices.org/). Jackie is currently working with state legislators to educate them on the benefits of HB 251, a Montana Medicaid buy-in program for children with disabilities. Connections made through her Rural Institute-supported activities have provided the technical resources, confidence and "know how" to develop and advocate for improved services for Montana's children with disabilities and their families.