Steps to Support for All

An association for the support of Texas citizens who are aging or have exceptional challenges


Steps to Support for All is a group of individuals working to move the State of Texas in a positive direction toward fully funding existing programs and facilities provided by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and promoting a broader, more effective array of services for Texans who are aging or have disabilities.

Steps to Support for All is an association with an educational mission.  Its members include leaders in our communities, former legislators, professionals who serve Texans who are aging or disabled, family members of, and individuals with, disabilities.


Strategy for Success - Education

        Provide accurate information about the needs of those having disabilities or who are aging to the citizens of Texas through community leaders and organizations.

        Stress the importance of working together in the distribution and delivery of service. All services are necessary! We do not place higher value on the needs of one segment over those of another segment.

        Develop and promote partnerships between organizations that will improve current programs and encourage new programs which will better serve individuals receiving support from DADS.

Through a spirit of good will and education, Steps to Support for All formed to promote close and effective cooperation between groups advocating for certain populations of Texans with disabilities and those advocating for senior citizens. By doing so, the association will provide a climate of fairness and compassion for all who need services and foster an effective working relationship with legislators and the administrative organization of the Department of Aging and Disability Services. These efforts are extended to end the confusion created by factions and redirect the focus onto the Texas citizens needing the services. The association of Steps to Support for All enables members to share their wealth of expertise and their compassion for All for the betterment of the whole. While each member will often maintain their passion for serving in a particular area, they agree as members of Steps to Support for All to be supportive of other programs that serve and, most importantly, agree to promote accurate, unbiased information.


Learn about the association Steps to Support for All We are working together to improve services for those who are aging or have disabilities. Please join us!


Contact: Martha Kate Downey (817) 283-4114 or cell (817) 946-1332

505 Anthony Dr.

Euless, TX 76039

Steps to Support for All strives to assist the Department of Aging and Disabilities in their vision and mission statements outlined in the DADS 2005 Reference Guide as follows:


Older Texans and persons with disabilities and mental retardation will be supported by a comprehensive and cost-effective service delivery system that promotes and enhances individual well-being, dignity, and choice.



To provide a comprehensive array of aging, disability, and mental retardation services, supports, and opportunities that is easily accessed in local communities.


Our key responsibilities include:

                     Working in partnership with consumers, caregivers, service providers, and other stakeholders;

                     Developing and improving service options that are responsive to individual needs and preferences; and

                     Ensuring and protecting self-determination, consumer rights, and safety.

Representatives from these agencies or groups work with members of Steps to Support for All to provide documentation about services or the needs of those served by D.A.D.S. They pre-check information for accuracy prior to its publication on the Steps website, or being posted to the members of Steps to Support for All. Information provided by Steps does not serve as a platform for any of the entities.


        State schools

  • Adult Protective Services
  • MHMR
  • Texas Silver Haired Legislature
  • Texas Guardianship Association
  • Texas universities
  • Private service providers
  • Families who have family members in state schools
  • Families who have family members with disabilities living in the community
  • Families who have family members with disabilities living in the family's home



Where are we now and where are we going?

June 2006 Update

Through the sharing of accurate information, Steps to Support for All has earned the respect of many around our state.  It has become a unifying association.  Steps began as a means of providing factual, unbiased information.  New members joined the mission so that they might help pull resources and programs together for the common good rather than striving to "win" money for one program at the expense of another (i.e. state schools programs over community-based services). Through Steps to Support for All, members with children in state schools work alongside members with children in community living arrangements. The strength of our association lies in the experience and honesty of its members.  Each member's sincere desire to best serve ALL those in need is our unifying factor.

Our association is still relatively new. It began in the fall of 2004 and the scope of its mission and its membership has blossomed. It is difficult to gage the actual membership of the association since our primary method of joining together is via Internet exchanges.  Each post sent to 100 members is generally sent on to many, many others. In the spring of 2005 we were asked to become stakeholders for HHSC, so I gather our voices were definitely heard and respected during the general legislative session of 2005. 

Due to the extensive Steps network, valuable links are forming and new projects begun. Through Step contacts, the Come Read with Me project for life-long learning has joined forces with Texas Women's University, Eastern New Mexico University and Texas Tech University School of Education and School of Medicine. Their joint effort: to gather regular, long term, never-before-collected cognitive functioning data on adults with disabilities. This data is critical to the planning of proper long-term care for aging adults with cognitive disabilities. 

Steps to Support for All does not always call members to action, but often uses the individuals as a source of information and support.  Steps members came together following hurricane Katrina to alert one another of possible resources and specialized help around our state. Because of the expertise of various Step members and the organizations to which they belong, crises information was developed, posted on the Steps website, and sent to hospitals and crisis centers. (Crisis referral page, Strategies for helping children with autism cope with upheaval) In addition to Steps successful efforts to facilitate better crises care for individuals with disabilities in medical facilities, the location of special housing for the special needs families was made available.  Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth specifically requested the assistance of Steps members throughout the state. Thanks to the initiative of individual support groups such as the Autism Society of Greater Tarrant County emergency information was delivered, while DIAL (Developing Independent Adult Living) and other Step associates formed buddy systems to lend an ear and a hand to special needs families as they faced the chaos in their lives. Step members alerted other Step members of needs and resources. They made a powerful alliance in the face of crises.



Update July 2006

Current Steps to Support for All:

  • Gather and share accurate information about services and funding available in our state and others.
  • Establish and maintain positive working relationships with organization leaders and families within the state of Texas.
  • Establish and maintain positive working relationships with legislators and their staffs.
  • Dream.  This fall, Steps to Support for All will have a mini-conference to do some creative brainstorming.  We will share ideas for possible new models of service that would provide more effective care for DADS consumers.  We will also use the valuable time to share successes and needs of our local non-profit initiatives.  These collective thoughts will be sent on to the larger membership where they will, no doubt, gather more innovative and effective ideas for improved services.  The historic legislative approach of simply moving funds from one pocket to another will not cease until we present a united message with a specific vision.  Because of the knowledge and experience of Step members, we hope to help develop that vision, one that is more complete and comprehensive than current models.
  • Impress upon service providers, organizations and our legislators the vital need for further research of cognitive function of aging persons with disabilities.  How can we plan for their care without some general knowledge of their expected needs?  We're entering uncharted grounds.  In past generations, those with significant disabilities did not often live to be aging adults.  We need to be gathering information now to provide guidelines for the planning of services for future generations.
  • Encourage life-long learning efforts for adults with disabilities.  We are, after all, a mission of education. The incidence of early Alzheimer Disorder is proven to be seen more in the population of those with Down Syndrome than in the general population.  There is speculation that perhaps other disorders may also exhibit this increased risk.  If proven to be true, through the collection of cognitive data on adults with disability, it will demonstrate the overwhelming need to provide educational programs which promote cognitive function for adults throughout their life-time.
  • Work together in times of need. 
  • Develop and promote partnerships between organizations (such as those of the Come Read with Me project and universities) which encourage new programs to better serve individuals receiving support from DADS.
    Services supported during the 2005 Texas Legislative Session by individuals in Steps to Support for All

1. Adequate housing and services for those having exceptional needs who choose to stay in home-community settings.

2. Adequate housing and services for the elderly citizens of Texas who choose to stay in home-community settings. Protect the service programs for older Texans, such as Area Agencies on Aging, which are working well.

3. Community programs with a positive history. Maintain the local control that has produced these successful programs - do not allow restructuring (DADS) to sacrifice successful programs.

4. Continuity of effective community services. Allow counties to do individual planning in the restructuring so to continue to use effective community services and funding i.e. food banks, local Area Agencies on Aging, etc., plus the extensive contribution by volunteers.

5. Adequate housing and programs for those living in state schools.

6. Pay scale raises to equitable levels for those providing medical and direct care to persons with disabilities to ensure qualified and sufficient personnel.

7. Elimination of the waiting list for all Medicaid Waiver Programs through proper funding of needed services.

8. Redefining the customer as the person in need of services and therefore eliminate compartmentalizing and restrictions that hamper delivery of services.

9. Consistent services for the future of all with disabilities.

10. Letting the market place determine what support is required for each individual, i.e. state school, community placement, in home and family support. The market place should determine what people need in order to minimize waste and provide appropriate service to the individual.

11. Support programs to extend guardianship for 18-year-old foster children with mental retardation or developmental disabilities to age 22 to enable the young adults to receive support as they develop life skills training, establish work situations, or complete their educations. Upon reaching the age of 22, if the guardian is not a family member, then it would become necessary for the guardian to reapply to continue the guardianship if such care and protection are needed.

12. Support voluntary emergency placements in state schools for families in crises.

13. Support those items listed in the resolution passed by the Texas Guardianship Association 5-2-2005.