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Unmet Film Project

Why is NCCDD funding this initiative?Goal 3 of the new Five Year Plan: Increase advocacy for individuals with I/DD.

  • People with developmental disabilities typically benefit from various home and community-based services or Medicaid Waiver services that allow them to access healthcare and live successfully in their community of choice as defined by Olmstead.
  • Currently, many individuals - and their families - who wait (often for over a decade) for a Medicaid Waiver in North Carolina, suffer and are at risk with minimal support.
  • The Registry of Unmet Needs (RUN), also referred to as the waitlist of the Medicaid Innovations Waiver, is 17,000 and growing.
  • Overall, it is difficult for individuals and their families to find and understand information about I/DD services and navigation.
  • There is further disparity in access to I/DD services for minority populations.
  • The ability for those with I/DD to live more independently in communities is impacted by the direct support professional workforce crisis, affordable housing, etc.
  • All of these factors have led to significant unmet service and support needs for North Carolina’s I/DD community.

What are the major goals and objectives?

  • The film tells the stories of individuals with unmet needs who are either on the Registry of Unmet Needs or who are supposed to receive services but their needs are unmet due to the Direct Support Professional workforce shortage.
  • The film will be used to educate and increase awareness about how individuals with unmet needs struggle to live full and meaningful lives in the community.
  • The film gives an honest portrayal of the lives of people in North Carolina who desire to live full lives in the community of their choosing but who, due to lack of resources resulting either from not having Waiver funding for Home and Community-based Services or from having funding but not being able to secure staff are living lives that are below the level of engagement, health, access, and connection that they desire.

What has taken place since the start of the program? (Activities)

  • Met with Advisory Committee to review individuals who expressed interest in being in the film.
  • Traveled to home locations to obtain film footage of several individuals in their home setting.
  • Captured footage in authentic settings in which the participants were authentically shown going about their everyday lives.
  • Held conversations and shared draft versions of film with leading industry experts.
  • Interviewed State experts to include data and policy perspective in the film.
  • Provide updates and edits according to input from stakeholders.
  • Added open captions to film
  • Attended many film showings to speak to audience, both in person and virtual.
  • While attending NC film showings, photographed more local people with I/DD.
  • Prepared Short versions of profile stories from the film
  • Added Spanish Voice Over to the film.

What has been achieved to date?

  • Delivered draft of film to national news leader.
  • Posted still images from film to national publication clearinghouse.
  • Participated screening of film with advisory committee and additional invited guests.
  • Added technology that will allow NCCDD to capture demographic data from those who review the film and respond to survey request.
  • Winner of Los Angeles International Film Festival Outstanding Achievement Award for Documentary Short
  • Translated full dialogue into Spanish with captions and vocal recording overlay in Spanish

What long-term changes are expected as a result of this initiative?

  • Meet the Unmet Service and Support Needs of the I/DD community in North Carolina.

How can I get involved? 

Contact Pam Hunter Dempsey, Systems Change Manager, Pam.Dempsey@dhhs.nc.gov for more information on becoming involved in one or more of the above elements.

Who can I contact for questions?

NCCDD: Pam Hunter Dempsey, Systems Change Manager, Pam.Dempsey@dhhs.nc.gov

Additional Resources

Click here to download a one pager of this initiative.


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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
984-920-8200 (Office/TTY)
984-920-8201 (Fax)
This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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