In just the few months she has served as interim director of Rhode Island’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, Jane Gallivan has been instrumental in changing the state’s approach to providing services for individuals with intellectual challenges. On the most concrete level, she has set plans in motion to adopt an improved version of a controversial assessment – the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) – to more accurately determine the needs of clients.
With help from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Gallivan also has shifted strategies for presenting the division’s budget so that the state Budget Office and the General Assembly better understand what it means to support individuals with developmental disabilities.
The initiatives Gallivan has begun, and the tone she has set, are expected to continue after her role changes Friday, Sept. 30, to that of long-distance consultant.
By Gina Macris
Jennifer Wood, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, the top aide and top lawyer to Secretary Elizabeth Roberts, and a former chief of staff at the state Department of Education is orchestrating an effort to usher in a new era for Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
And she’s creating a brand new management team to help her do it, including Brian Gosselin, a veteran of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, to serve as Chief Strategy Officer.
Since January, when a federal judge agreed to oversee Rhode Island’s compliance with a consent decree, Wood has emerged at the forefront of the state’s response to the court case.
The Cross Disability Coalition has been working on the development of a Speakers Bureau to provide education/training on various topics to different audiences including people with disabilities, families, advocates, agency administrators and support staff, employers and the public.
“Public Education” and “Leadership Development” are two of the Priority Areas of the Coalition. The other two areas are “Employment” and “Accessibility”.
Coalition staff Tanja Blicker-Ucran, Deanne Gagne and Jack Ringland identified Members who had an interest in the various topic areas. People met and talked about information that would be important to include. Individual Powerpoint presentations with handouts were developed for each topic area (see the flyer below) with support from DDC Staff Sue Babin and Kevin Nerney. Specific Speakers from the Coalition were then identified for each presentation.
The presentation topic areas include:
- “You Are NOT Alone!” (Bullying)
- “Life Is Good!” (What does “Independence, Productivity, Integration/Inclusion, and Self-Determination” mean to people with disabilities?)
- “Employment Can WORK For You!”
- “Let’s Talk About Money” (Financial Education)
- “Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships and Keeping Safe”
- “Understanding My Human Rights”
- “Invest in Hiring People with Disabilities”
- “Sexual Abuse Awareness”
- “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE Act)” (Tax Free Savings Accounts)
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Person Centered Planning (“What is Person Centered Planning and HOW Can I Run My Own Meeting?”)
The RI Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) and the Cross Disability Coalition have worked collaboratively to develop this Speakers Bureau. We are very pleased with the presentations and proud of the work completed!
The Council has provided initial funding to support the start-up of the Speakers Bureau and payment to members for presentations made.
For more specific information on any of these topic areas or if you would like to have any of these presentations scheduled for a special event, group, meeting or your agency or organization, contact:
Special Projects Coordinator, RIDDC
By Gina Macris
When she became director of Rhode Island’s developmental disability agency in February, 2015, Maria Montanaro inherited a budget with no relation to actual costs that was destined to run a deficit.
She had to work with a state-run system of group homes resistant to change, which she said exists to preserve jobs and not to serve clients.
And she had virtually no high-level staff to form the leadership team necessary to move forward on compliance with the 2014 federal consent decree that requires Rhode Island to transform its services for adults with disabilities from segregated programs to integrated, community-based supports.
By Gina Macris
Rhode Island’s developmental disability budget for the next fiscal year includes assurances that a total of $9.1 million in Medicaid money will be spent to raise pay for direct support workers and to begin transforming the state’s system of services for those with intellectual challenges.
Shortly after 1:30 am on Saturday, June 18, The Senate approved total developmental disability funding of $246.2 million beginning July 1 in concurrence with the House vote taken Wednesday. That total, almost all of it state and federal Medicaid funds, is nearly $15.4 million more than the General Assembly approved last year at this time for the current budget, which closes on June 30.