CAN DO Initiative / Communities for a Lifetime

The Collaborative Action Network Developing Opportunities (CAN DO) Initiative began in the fall of 2007 as a way to bring people together from a variety of perspectives to take action on issues important to them in their local community to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

New developments

A Legislative report on the concept of Communities for a Lifetime (CFL) led to conversations about how CFL and CAN DO goals and approaches are related. The following table illustrates the alignment between the goals of the two initiatives.

CAN DO CHOICE Life Domains

CFL Core Strategies

Community membership

Foster social connections that build “community” among residents

Health, wellness and safety

Support assessment and planning efforts to develop healthy “communities” for a lifetime

Own place to live

Transform infrastructures of communities, including housing

mobility options and accessible public space

Important long-term relationships

Foster social connections that build “community” among residents

Control over supports
mployment earnings and income

Expand services that help community residents stay independent and engaged

Like CAN DO, the CFL approach emphasizes community-level collaborative action and works to spread successful strategies around the state. Primarily organizations and advocates in aging have promoted CFL to date. However, many CFL stakeholders consulted through the legislative report process supported the use of CFL principles and strategies to improve community life for people of all ages and abilities.

In fact, 84 percent of respondents to an online survey indicated that they viewed CFL as a concept for all ages, not just older residents. Increasingly, CAN DO stakeholders have also seen the similarity between the two initiatives.

Plans for the future

The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Disabilities Services Division (DSD) have decided to consolidate their CAN DO efforts with the CFL initiative. Moving forward, the CFL initiative will be sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA) and the Continuing Care Administration of DHS, including DSD, the Aging and Adult Services Division and Transform 2010.

The CFL initiative is currently working on the first version of a CFL Web site to connect community leaders with resources, tools and each other. CAN DO discontinued its Web content on April 15, 2010. Valuable content and resources from the CAN DO Web site are available on the CFL Web site.

Ways to stay involved

Visit the CFL Web site to sign up for e-mail updates and find information on videoconferences, in-person forums and publications.

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