BHDDH Hosts "Employment First" Forum
On March 26, 2013 BHDDH Director Craig Stenning hosted an "Employment First" Forum for advocates and community agencies to unveil a multi-year plan to embrace an "Employment First" vision for all individuals served by BHDDH.
The Director stated that the Department intends to implement this Policy over a "gradual process" beginning with new individuals coming into the DD System starting March 1, 2013. He commented "some of this work has been expedited due to an investigation by the Department of Justice into violations of the ADA, the Olmstead decision and the Department of Labor standards around minimum wages."
see attached links for more information:
Feds Take Stand Against Sheltered Workshops
The Obama administration is looking to become directly involved in a class-action lawsuit that has people with developmental disabilities seeking greater employment opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion last week to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of thousands of people with developmental disabilities against the state of Oregon. The individuals behind the case allege that the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing supported employment services, which help people with disabilities work in the community.
US Department of Justice Investigation in RI
According to Channel 10 TV new story aired January 28, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice is looking at possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act in Rhode Island. The investigation into agencies including the Fogarty Center, Cove Inc., and the Trudeau Center focuses on whether people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are being discriminated against, according to the Justice Department.
Read more about the action being taken against segregation around the country:
Ending Disability Segregation…Dale DeLeo
Dale DeLeo takes a look at the question, “can inclusion of people with disabilities be promoted without fighting to end existing segregation?”
Oregonians with Disabilities File Class Action Suit Against the Governor, State Officials
United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon and SW Washington and eight individuals with disabilities have filed suit against the Governor and other state officials to dispute segregated placement in sheltered workshops that pay less than minimum wage and offer no training services.
Sheltered Workshops No Better Than Institutions, Report Finds
A National Disability Rights Network report released in January 2012 states that people with disabilities who are placed in sheltered workshops are paid well beneath minimum wage, denied job training, and subjected to increased risk of abuse and neglect, all while some facilitators of such programs make large profits from their work and the state funding they bring in.
Vermont's Experience: Converting Sheltered Workshops to Employment Support
In an effort to provide truly integrates services to people with disabilities, the state of Vermont closed its last sheltered workshop in 2005 and now provides individual employment support and training to people with disabilities.
Federal Department of Justice: ADA Home Page
The Department of Justice talks about enacting the Olmstead Decision and integrated living as a major part of their efforts to enforce ADA.
Statewide Informational Meetings in January/February 2013 for Families on DDD's Next Phase for “Project Sustainability”
Craig Stenning, Director, BHDDH, was the Guest Speaker for the DDC's Quarterly Meeting held at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick on January 16, 2013. Director Stenning commented that the department was entering the next phase for implementation of “Project Sustainability”. The initial phase was for the department to bring transparency to the DD Service System by utilizing a new uniform assessment tool, the “Supports Intensity Scale (SIS)” to provide the basis for consumer-directed care planning and to align resources to individual needs; and to develop a new equitable rate structure for all agencies for billing for services provided to individuals.
Director Stenning stated all people with disabilities
should receive the right services in the right place, in the least restrictive environment , at the right time and integrated in the community… people have a right to live in the community.
Click here to read more about the next phase of “Project Sustainability”.
Click here to view a schedule of upcoming family information sessions about
Helping the Country Cope After the Mass Shooting in Newton, CT
—Call the Disaster Distress Helpline
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) would like to make sure that everyone is aware of the Disaster Distress Helpline; the Nation's first permanent hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling.
This FREE, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this tragedy:
- Telephone: 1-800-985-5990
- SMS: Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
For Spanish-speakers, Text “Hablanos” to 66746
To read more about the Disaster Distress Helpline, click here.
A National Resource for Employers Interested in Hiring People with Disabilities
The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is a national resource for any employer who is interested in recruiting, hiring, and retaining qualified employees with disabilities.
New Self-Directed Supports Website Available
The Sherlock Center has developed a new website and fact sheet designed to help individuals and families learn about Self-Directed Supports (SDS) available through RI's Division of Developmental Disabilities (BHDDH).
click here to view the website or click here to read more
ABLE Act Update
Read the ABLE Act update here.
New Federal Program For People With Disabilities: Community Choice
Click here to read the article.
Elimination of Sub Minimum Wage for People With Disabilities
Click here to read the article.
RI Cross Disability Coalition Identifies Bullying as a Project Action Area
Read about the Coalition's position on bullying here.
Study: Students With Disabilities Often On Both Ends Of Bullying
Click here to read the article.
New Logo for RIDDC
The RI Developmental Disabilities Council has a New Logo!
Executive Director Mary Okero and Special Projects Coordinator Sue Babin brainstormed various graphic ideas and came up with the sailboat and ocean components for the Logo to reflect RI as the Ocean State and the Tag Line… “Charting a New Course” to compliment the Purpose and Mission of the Council.
“We wanted a New Logo to position the Council as a visible and important statewide non-profit advocacy organization for people with disabilities and their families. We were looking for a clean, appealing and professional look to build strong brand perception for the Council,” said Mary Okero.
Website Manager Allyson DuPont worked to redesign a sailboat graphic and chose an attractive font for the Council's name and tagline. A number of drafts were developed and shared with the various Committees of the Council for their approval.
“Everyone is really pleased with this new Logo! It's classic look connects with the themes of RI as the Ocean State and the Council's Mission to lead and advocate for the meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities within our local communities,” commented Sue Babin.
And STAY TUNED…
the Council's Website will also have a fresh new look soon!
Support Businesses Owned by People with Disabilities and Businesses Operated by Community Agencies
read the whole article here
ACCESSIBLE TAXI CABS COMING TO RI
Read more about accessible taxi cabs
and find out how to call for a ride.
Disability Blog Post “From Awareness To Respect” by Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), US Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Sharon Lewis…
“At what point do we move from seeking simple awareness about intellectual and developmental disabilities to expecting meaningful respect for people with ID/DD?”
New Federal Agency Gives Boost To Disability Issues
By Michelle Diament | April 17, 2012
A major organizational change this week at the federal level could give significantly more voice to those working on developmental disability issues.
The shift announced Monday creates a new Administration for Community Living within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The new entity will join together three existing bodies — the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Aging — under one umbrella to serve seniors and those with disabilities.
Obama administration officials and disability advocates say the bureaucratic change could pay big dividends long-term for people with special needs by pushing disability issues up the food chain at the cabinet-level agency. Specifically, they say, a big plus is that the new head of the community living administration will have a seat at the decision-making table as an assistant secretary directly reporting to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"It's the beginning of a much stronger position for disability interests in the Department of Health and Human Services," said Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who called the organizational shake-up a "game changer."
For her part, Sebelius said the reorganization is intended to emphasize the administration's commitment to community living and build on President Barack Obama's "Year of Community Living" initiative from 2009.
"We are reinforcing this commitment by bringing together key HHS organizations and offices dedicated to improving the lives of those with functional needs into one coordinated, focused and stronger entity," Sebelius said.
What's more, government officials working on developmental disability issues say the shift will allow them to better reflect the lifelong needs of their constituency.
"Previously, (the Administration on Developmental Disabilities) had been located within the Administration for Children and Families in HHS. Our efforts, however, are lifespan and not unique to childhood," said Sharon Lewis, commissioner of the developmental disabilities agency.
In addition to joining with the Office on Disability and the Administration on Aging, Lewis' agency is also undergoing a name change. As of this week, the agency will now be called the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, reflecting a similar terminology update undertaken by numerous entities nationwide.
A Penny For Your Thoughts
The RI Statewide Independent Living Council is asking for everyone's input on our how our state can improve Independent Living and the quality of life for people with disabilities. Visit their website to fill out the survey online, to call in and respond by phone, or to get a paper survey in the mail.
Tax Season is Coming Up...
People with Disabilities, Family Members, and Staff at Community Agencies May Be Eligible for Tax Refunds! Click here for the flyer for an informational meeting about tax credits.
Zach Anner: Top Choice of Oprah Winfrey From Viral Video Star to Host of His 'OWN' Show
Zach Anner relies on a wheelchair to get around, but that's not stopping the 27-year-old with cerebral palsy. On his new travel show debuting Monday, December 19, 2011 on Oprah Winfrey's cable network OWN, Anner tries everything from surfing to rock climbing.
Circle of Hope
PROVIDENCE -- People with disabilities, advocates, family members and service providers encircled the Rhode Island State House during a candlelight vigil at dusk Tuesday.
They are protesting what they said is $24 million in funding cuts to services for the developmentally disabled..
Protestors included people with autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities. They were joined by their family, friends and caregivers.
State lawmakers, trying to close a nearly $300 million deficit in the $7.7-billion state budget, reduced state reimbursements for transportation-related costs by about $4.5 million. They also cut millions by reducing reimbursements to service providers..
What People Are Saying About Employment
"People with disabilities want good paying jobs in areas we choose, not what someone else has chosen for us! We want the SAME opportunities as anyone else." Christina Battista, Co-Coordinator, Cross Disability Coalition
"I am an Artist and a Teacher! I LOVE doing this but I need help with marketing my work. Alton Stuckey
"I have been working in a sheltered workshop at the SAME job for over 20 years! I don't want to do this anymore. Would YOU? I want a REAL JOB! Can anyone help me find a better job?" Steve Porcelli
"I want to be able to make money to pay my bills and not depend on anyone else. I want a JOB that can pay me so that I do not have to be on SSI all my life. I just want a good life!" Tanja Blicker-Ucran, Co-Coordinator, Cross Disability Coalition
"I want to start MY OWN BUSINESS. Really! I love music and I think I would make a great D-J so that is what I want to do." Katie Lowe
Council recently presented its new Five Year Plan.
The Rhode Island Developmntal Disabilities Council's Five Year State Plan, effective from Federal Fiscal Year 2012 through Federal Fiscal Year 2016. The State Plan contains goals and objectives for current areas of emphasis. Research that was used in the development of the plan is incuded in this document.
Transition guide published
This 50-page guide is aimed at providing families with the information they need to effectively prepare for and participate in periods of transition in their children's lives. Individuals may order one free copy of the guide. Additional print copies are available for $10. A discount is available for bulk orders. Click here to order guides.
U.S. Senate Committee Hearing on Improving Employment Opportunities for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Click here to view the testimony provided before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions on March 2, 2011 about improving employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. Witnesses included Lynnae Ruttledge, Commissioner, Rehabilitative Services Administration; U.S. Department of Education and Sharon Lewis, Commissioner, Administration on Developmental Disabilities U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; William Kiernan, Director, Institute for Community Inclusion, MA.
Twenty teenage leaders from across the country came together at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland last January for a National Youth Inclusion Summit. Before coming to the Summit, each teen held an Including Samuel viewing party and discussion in their community. The goal of the summit was to develop an advocacy campaign for the full social and educational inclusion of people with disabilities.
The result of their efforts is a new national campaign: I
am Norm! that is working to:
· Raise awareness about inclusion through a viral video campaign and website
· Provide opportunities for youth and adults to share their ideas about inclusion
· Promote inclusive practices in schools and community organizations
Who is Norm? Learn more about the campaign as it unfolds as part of Inclusive Schools Week (ISW) highlights the progress schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to students of diverse backgrounds and abilities. It provides an opportunity for educators, students, and families to ensure that schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.
Envisioning the future
The federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities is committed to making schools, communities, workplaces and neighborhoods more welcoming and inclusive for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is currently in the process of developing a five year plan that will spell out approaches that shape attitudes by raising expectations, change outdated or broken systems, engender respect for all people and empower individuals with disabilities to pursue the lives they imagine for themselves. The agency is currently collecting public input for the strategic plan. You can submit your ideas on line at envision2010.net.
A Little History
In the early 1970s, Congress decided that it was in the national interest to offer people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live in typical homes and communities, and to exercise their full rights and responsibilities. It passed the Developmental Disabilities Act which among other things established Councils in each State to help plan services and to advocate for the civil and human rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Who we are, what we do
The Governor appoints the 24 Rhode Islanders serving on the Council. Most are people with developmental disabilities and their family members. Others are representatives of agencies and groups that work for people with disabilities.
Council members are men and women who have an exceptional insight into the obstacles that confront people with disabilities throughout their lives. Indeed people with disabilities face a long list of problems and issues when it comes to education, employment, transportation, housing, recreation, and health care. Working as Council we continue to discover and promote creative ways that families, service agencies and federal, state and local governments can work together so that people can live more independent, fulfilling lives.
The Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC is
a credit for people who do not earn high incomes. EITC
can reduce your taxes and result in a tax refund. In
simple terms, you can keep more of what you have earned.
If you are one of the many low-income workers (including some people with disabilities, family members and employees who work for community agencies) who will not file this year because you do not owe any taxes, you may want to think again. Or you may not have filed for the tax credit on your tax forms. The IRS may owe you some money!!!!!
Click here to view a list of locations where you can find out if you qualify for the EITC and get free help with filing your 2009 tax return. The Council is working with the IRS and others to help make sure that people with disabilities take full advantage of the EITC and other tax benefits. This effort is supported by grants the Council recently received.
Here is what the IRS recommends you bring bring
with you if you want your tax return prepared:
- Proof of identification
- Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Current year's tax package if you received one
- Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- A copy of last year's federal and state returns if available
- Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
- Total paid for day care provider and the day care provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
Promoting the ideas that will enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities is one of the Council's missions. Under our federal enabling legislation we must stay abreast of and share information about new programs and services and important issues, trends and ideas that are of concern to people with developmental disabilities, families, service agencies, business and community leaders, legislators and policy makers. In this sense our web site connects people with the information they need to make positive changes in their lives or to develop a frame of reference for decision making.
The Council's Summer Guide pages list a broad range of recreation, arts and entertainment and education programs and services for people who have a disability.
Council members and meeting schedules are listed here.
Our office is in the Warwick Medical Building in the Warwick Mall in Warwick Rhode Island. The address is 400 Bald Hill Road, Suite 515, Warwick, RI 02886. For more information about us, contact Mary Okero, Executive Director, (401) 737-1238 or email us.