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Parent Advocacy Education- Partners in Policy Making

 Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible to participate in this program?

This program is designed for parents of young children with developmental disabilities and for adults with disabilities.

What is the time commitment required of those who are chosen to participate in this program?

Participants are required to attend eight weekend sessions (September through May with no session in December). The sessions run from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Day One and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Day Two. (Note: Sessions are held on Friday and Saturday except in March when the session is held on Sunday and Monday.)

Where are the weekend sessions held?

All the sessions will be held in the Marriott Hotel in Bloomington

Is there a fee to attend this eight-month training?

There is no charge to attend. The cost for those selected to partici-pate is covered in part by a grant from the Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities to the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Do I have to pay for my overnight accommodations and travel expenses?

Overnight accommodations are provided for those who drive a distance to attend. Class members are matched and housed in double occupancy rooms. Mileage reimbursement is also available to class members. Refreshment breaks, two lunches and one dinner are provided during each weekend session.

Is there financial assistance available to help pay for respite/child care or personal care attendants?

While the Partners program does not provide on-site services, a reimbursement allowance is provided for those needing assistance.

Is there work to be done between monthly sessions?

After each session a homework assignment, that builds on and supports the topics addressed, must be completed by each class member and turned in at the following session.

Who does the training?

Speakers are local and national subject matter experts or practitioners.


How are class participants selected?

A Review Committee, which includes Partners graduates and representatives from the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, will select participants based on several criteria. Class size is limited to 40 members.

Why take the class?

Graduates find that they learn how to work effectively with schools, government agencies, and community groups. They can take what they have learned in the program and use it to create better living situations and outcomes for themselves or their children and for their communities as a whole.

What do participants gain?



A powerful network of new friends, supporters, resources, and mentors

Advocacy/Self-Advocacy, leadership, and communication skills

Knowledge about how government works, rights for people with disabilities, how to connect with and be heard by legislators, how to work with other individuals and organizations to create change

How and when do I apply to the program?

Adults with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities are eligible to apply.  Applications are available on this website in a printable or online format. They can also be received each year by request to Carol Schoeneck, GTS, via email ( ) or phone (metro: 651-223-5307, non-metro: 800-569-6878, ext. 205).  Applications are accepted May-mid-July.  Accepted applicants will be informed in August. The program runs from September-May each year.

What does Partners in Policymaking require from participants?

Partners is a commitment to attend eight weekend sessions, practice new skills in a comfortable and safe environment, build a network of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences, and learn from national experts who share a vision and values. Participants commit to attending all eight two-day sessions (usually on Friday and Saturdays), being active class participants, behaving respectfully, and doing monthly homework.

Do people find this program worthwhile?

More than 850 people have participated in this program.  Many report that it has changed their lives and/or the lives of their children.


Also look for Partners in Policymaking youtube videos, talk to a Partners in Policymaking graduate (call the GTS office at 651-223-5307 if you don’t know one and we will connect you to one), and look through the information on this site.  We hope that, if Partners is a good fit for you, we will see your application in the next batch and get to know you in the years ahead.

1935 County Road B2 West Suite 100 Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-4155