Efforts to promote self-advocacy among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are getting a major boost with the creation of a first-ever national resource center.

Federal officials said this week that they are allocating $2 million over five years to develop a National Resource Center for Self-Advocacy.

The new offering will include an online clearinghouse with information on best practices, a training curriculum and self-advocacy success stories.

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In addition, those behind the center will research the history of self-advocacy, provide support to new and existing self-advocacy groups across the country and create a fellowship program to promote leadership development among those with disabilities.

“The people affected by policy should have the greatest voice in developing it,” said Katherine Cargill-Willis, a program specialist with the the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living which is providing the funding.

“With this grant, ACL aims to make this ideal more of a reality for people with disabilities,” Cargill-Willis said.

The resource center will be led by Self Advocates Becoming Empowered in partnership with 11 other organizations with similar missions.

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