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DHSS Group Looking for Public Feedback in Online Survey

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services

The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is opening up a five minute online survey to residents for feedback on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. 

The Council aims to provide a process to connect the public with policymakers and ensure the thoughtful development of a service delivery system.  Executive director of the council Patrick Reinhart says this annual report is to take a look at the policies and services provided.  He says the survey is a way for the Council to understand the needs of the service providers involved as well as those that require the services.

“One is for the kind of general public and then we have specific ones for people who may have actually received a service from one of the programs that we might have.”

Reinhart says there are two main aspects the Council looks at when they receive the surveys.

“The number one thing we are trying to learn is whether or not people are satisfied with the services they obtain. But the other part of it, that’s most important or just as important whether or not they have ideas or things that we could be working or policy things that are important issues to people with disabilities and families with folks with disabilities so we want to know what are the issues.”

He says the Council uses this information to make sure that the issues the Council is pushing for are the same as the ideas and issues the public care about.

The council uses the survey to help it write a plan for the state every five years.  For the last survey, for the years 2011-2016, the Council received 300 responses with suggestions.  During the creation of that five year plan, a list of unserved and underserved individuals and groups was the focus.  Those in rural or remote communities, individuals with developmental disabilities, youth transitioning from school to adult services and individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders were among the groups for which the Council created goals. 

Reinhart says the Council also uses the survey to help with funding.

“We’ve done this annual survey, it’s the same kind of questions that are asked in every state, then it’s a report that goes back to Congress kind of lets them know whether or not they can support these government councils that look at issues for people with developmental disabilities are working. We do it in every state.”

To take the survey look for the Council on Disabilities and Special Education tab on the Department of Health and Social Services website at