The Department of BHDDH, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), will be holding two open community forums in February 2017. The first forum is specifically for individuals and families involved with self-directed supports and the second one for all other persons.
The Forums are typically held quarterly. They are an opportunity for people with disabilities, families, advocates, providers and other interested persons to meet with the director and leadership staff from the department, hear about updates on different policies, topics and various initiatives. It is also an opportunity for you to provide some feedback and ask questions.
Please save the following dates and times. You can click here to check for updates on the BHDDH website.
February 6, 2017 – Self-Directed Individuals and their Families
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Cranston Senior Center
1070 Cranston Street
February 9, 2017 – All Other Individuals and Families
4:00 – 6:00 PM
North Providence Senior Center
2 Atlantic Blvd
North Providence, RI
James Boucher and Susan Raposo, from West Bay Residential Services, Inc., put their heads together and came up with the idea of starting a creative poetry class about 7-8 years ago. It started with a few people coming together to talk about different topics on “Thursdays at 2” and then just expanded!
According to Susan they put pieces of paper on the wall, picked a Topic for the day and people brainstormed ideas to develop some poetry. It got everyone involved, laughing and having fun! The group even dreamed about the possibility of someday publishing a book of their favorite poems.
And then it happened! Two years ago Susan met Tracey Karner, an author and publisher, from RI, who became very interested in the group. She volunteered her time to help people in the poetry class to really develop their creative talents to publish a book on their best poems. In September 2016 there was a Release Party and book signing at Barrington Books. 66 copies of the book were sold!
The “Thursdays at 2” group has done public readings at The Elephant Tea Room, Kent Regency, Garden City Corner Bakery and other community locations. Last Monday, January 9, 2016 they gave a well-received presentation at the RI Cross Disability Coalition. Susan facilitated a process where members of the Coalition developed a poem about “Snow”.
Poet Corrine Charlette told everyone that she really enjoys “Thursdays at 2” because it has helped her to meet people, overcome some shyness and poetry is a lot of FUN!
Medicaid officials are looking for ways to increase access to Home and Community- Based Services (HCBS) for people with disabilities and they’re asking the public to provide comments and feedback.
In a notice published in the Federal Register this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said it is seeking suggestions from stakeholders about reforms and policy changes to potentially pursue in order to grow availability of community-based services taking into account issues affecting beneficiary choice and control, program integrity, rate-setting, quality infrastructure, and the homecare workforce.
CMS said it wants feedback from stakeholders on ways to further promote access to community options while continuing to ensure choice for those who prefer institutional care. Suggestions could include the way benefits are designed to how they are paid for.
Medicaid officials said they want to know what more can be done to provide services that promote the health/safety of beneficiaries with minimal fraud, waste and abuse.
CMS is also seeking feedback on ways to strengthen the home care workforce to ensure that providers are available for a growing number of individuals needing support.
CMS is accepting public comments through Jan. 9.
The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council (RIDDC) has scheduled its Annual Meeting for Saturday, October 15, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick from 8:30 am-4:00 pm. The primary focus is to discuss strategies for building a statewide Family Advocacy Coalition in RI. The Council has invited two prominent individuals currently involved with oversight and implementation of RI’s 2014 Federal Consent Decree.
Charles Moseley, the U.S. District Court Monitor for the RI Consent Decree, and Jennifer Wood, Deputy Secretary, RI Office of Health and Human Services (OHHS), are the Guest Speakers for the Council’s Annual Meeting. Chas Moseley and Jennifer Wood will speak about the Consent Decree, changes made and planned for in the DD system and within the State Department of BHDDH, and key steps to establish an effective statewide family advocacy coalition for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in RI.
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