A quality Partners in Policymaking program is built on critical values relating to the inherent worth of people with disabilities. These values must be the underlying thread woven throughout every aspect of the training program. Partners is all about how to achieve a vision that reflects these Core Values.
- “Partners” set the bar for how people will talk to and talk about people with disabilities; this is why using inclusive and respectful language is a must.
- “Partners” advocate for real friendships, not just paid staff. “Partners” fight for the rights of Arkansans with disabilities to have access to well-rounded lives and must be assured consistent stability through family, social, community connections, with abundant choice.
- “Partners” believe people with disabilities are entitled to free speech in its entirety and that the ability to communicate, in whatever form that fits the person best, must be available. Just because a person does not speak with a voice does not mean they do not have something to communicate. Partners listen.
- “Partners” fight for people with disabilities to have full mobility and accessibility that allows active participation in community life.
- “Partners” advocate for people with disabilities to be treated with dignity and respect at all times.
- “Partners” believe people with disabilities are the true experts on disability related issues.
- “Partners” work to create a state where people with disabilities can exercise choice and control in all areas of their lives.
- “Partners” believe in dignity of risk.
- “Partners” believe that people with disabilities must be able to live in homes of their choice and choose the supports they need.
- “Partners” fight to stop the exploitation of labor; People with disabilities have the right to be paid a livable wage for the work they do. They have a right to the benefits of true productivity through employment and as members of their community.
- “Partners” believe that self-determination starts at home and parents should empower young children with disabilities to advocate and stand up for their wants and needs.
- “Partners” fight for safer schools for individuals with disabilities; where students will be available to learn without fear of seclusion and/or restraint.
These values represent the foundation of Partners in Policymaking. We know, however, that these values are still not present in the lives of too many children and adults with developmental disabilities. We also know that as a result of the best practices training of Partners, these values have become the norm for thousands of Partners graduates around the world. In turn, graduates are using their influence to help others learn “what’s possible.”
As we work together and see positive change within our state, we will continue to grow this training to its maximum potential. Which means we will continue to provide leading edge thinking to future change makers fighting for an equitable future for people with disabilities.