September Is Emergency Preparedness Month

photo of floodThis September 2009 marks the sixth annual National Preparedness Month – a month designed to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies. Even though we don't know when or where disasters may strike, we do know that we can do more to be prepared for the unexpected.

The CPD has adapted and combined existing emergency preparedness materials to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities in Utah. These materials were developed for the Centers for Independent Living to help the families of people with disabilities prepare for emergencies and address the special needs that they might have. These guides were disseminated throughout Utah as part of emergency training events for the past two years and are still available on the CPD site. Further resources on emergency preparedness can be found on the Independent Living Research Utilization Center website, which includes webcast presentations by CPD staff members on emergency preparedness.

For more information and resources, read the featured story.

CPD by the numbers

During the 2009 fiscal year, CPD staff members led more than 6,000 hours of community training, covering a borad array of topics including traumatic brain injury, cultural diversity, emergency preparedness, assistive technology, nutrition and service coordination.

Dr. Linda Goetze

Early Intervention Research Institute studies cost, effect of pre-Kindergarten programs in New Mexico

When education’s policy makers in New Mexico wanted to know if their early childhood education money was a wise investment, they turned to researchers at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

Last year, economist Linda Goetze at the center’s Early Intervention Research Institute concluded that the state could expect a $5 return for every $1 spent on universal pre-Kindergarten programs. Now EIRI will continue collecting data over the next four years to determine if there is continued support for the program among policymakers, families and providers. The study will also better describe the costs and funding that support pre-Kindergarten services in New Mexico. 

a preschool teacher with her studentsThe preliminary conclusions came after economist Linda Goetze reviewed the findings of 10 separate studies that followed children—for as long as 35 years in some cases—who did and did not receive high quality preschool services. The EIRI researchers applied those studies’ findings to New Mexico’s unique population, where Goetze estimates 40 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds are at high risk for problems in school and society.

In addition, Goetze and a team of EIRI researchers oversaw the collection of data on actual results from New Mexico’s pre-Kindergarten programs. They reviewed professional development activities for the state funded pre-Kindergarten staff and conducted focus groups with families served by the program.

The focus groups’ findings  showed strong support for the program among families and providers, who valued pre-Kindergarten programs for the way they increased learning, improved social skills and provided multi-cultural opportunities. They recommended providing more slots to eliminate waiting lists and lotteries.

Now the Pre-K Evaluation project team will continue collecting data over the next four years to discover if the childrens’ gains are sustained over time. For example, Goetze said, they want to know if increased test scores will continue from one year to the next. “Do the children avoid the criminal justice system?” she asked. “Do they graduate from high school? What’s their employment?”

Both the former and current phase of the study were commissioned by the Office of Educational Accountability within the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration.

The evaluation projects are conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers in New Jersey.

Featured Web Page

Disaster preparedness for people with disabilities

This website offers tips, webcasts and numerous resources on preparing for the unexpected--from hurricanes to H1N1. The CPD contributed to the information presented here.

CPD In The News

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