Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Hot Topics: Hot Policy Topics This Week

North Carolina:
Busy week ahead at the General Assembly. Many of the committees are starting to direct their members to have recommendations to the chairs by March so that they can be ready to go in May. Rumor has it that this legislative session will hit the ground running. We will keep up with it for you.

Monday, February 22, 2010
10:00 AM Child Fatality Task Force - Unintentional Death Committee 1027/1128 LB

2:00 PM Child Fatality Taskforce - Intentional Death Committee 1027/1128 LB

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

10:00 AM Taskforce on Childhood Obesity 643 LOB

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
10:00 AM Finance Committee 643 LOB

Thursday, February 25, 2010
9:00 AM Blue Ribbon Taskforce for State Health Plan 1228/1327 LB

10:00 AM Aging, North Carolina Study Commission on 544 LOB

Friday, February 19, 2010

NC News: The Coalition Calls for Recognizing the Value of People with Developmental Disabilities

The Coalition Calls for Recognizing the Value of People with Developmental Disabilities

Raleigh, NC -- Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, used the word “retard” during an obscenity laced rebuke of political opponents. The Arc of the United States and Special Olympics strongly criticized the Obama administration for once again failing to recognize the strength of words and their continual impact on people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Historians agree that words have power. Words influence society by creating positive or negative stereotypes. The use of the word “retard”, “cripple”, and other derogatory words continue to not only support but also encourage the entrenchment of negative stereotypes regarding people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in our society, our state, and our communities.

These negative stereotypes are then translated into how we view and understand disability. Disability is natural. It is not abnormal. It is a state of being and if we all live long enough every one of us will experience a disability. The way we think about the disability community effects the policy that is created in our state and nation. Most importantly the policy that is affected by our perception of disability often influences policymakers decisions on how to support this community.

Read more at Carolina Newswire.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NC News: Disability Rights North Carolina Seclusion and Restraint Report

Seclusion and Restraint: A Dangerous Education

Call for a Voluntary Ban

Raleigh, NC – Disability Rights North Carolina released an investigative report today on the dangerous use of seclusion and restraint in North Carolina public schools.

The report, titled “Seclusion and Restraint: A Dangerous Education”, highlights specific examples of inappropriate practices in several counties in North Carolina, including the use of physical and mechanical restraint with chairs and straps and wrongful seclusion and time-outs. Specifically, the report discourages the use of prone restraint, where students are pinned face-down, restricting their ability to breathe.

The report includes specific examples of North Carolina students in Wayne, Cumberland, Durham and Wake counties who have been exposed to these practices and were injured as a result.

“We hope that this report will provide the incentive to eliminate the very dangerous practice of putting students in face-down restraint,” said DRNC Executive Director, Vicki Smith. “It’s time to take action before a North Carolina student dies.”

Disability Rights NC is releasing the report to the North Carolina State Superintendent, the State Board of Education and various Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with the goal that the state will voluntarily ban prone restraint in North Carolina schools and implement Positive Behavior Supports instead. In addition to Disability Rights NC, twelve other organizations have signed-on to a letter calling for the voluntary ban.

Disability Rights NC is also releasing the report to North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation encouraging them to support the passage of the “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in the Schools Act”. The act will federally ban the use of prone restraint and will require the use of de-escalation techniques and/or the implementation of a student’s Behavior Intervention Plan as alternatives to restraint or seclusion.

For more information, read report.
# # #

Disability Rights North Carolina is the state’s federally mandated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities. One of the P&A’s primary federal mandates is to protect and advocate against the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.

Monday, February 15, 2010

National Disability News: Washington Post Article-By Timothy Shriver

The bigotry behind the word 'retard'
By Timothy Shriver
Monday, February 15, 2010; A17

Professor and author Christopher M. Fairman ["The case against banning the word 'retard,' " Outlook, Feb. 14] made good arguments about the limits of language to effect change in behavior and attitude, as well as about the nuanced ways in which words such as "retard," "queer" and "gay" can carry multiple meanings, some of which intend no insult or humiliation.

But I believe he missed the point of the campaign by people who have intellectual disabilities, their friends, advocates and tens of thousands of individuals and dozens of organizations: We are fighting a word because it represents one of the most stubborn and persistent stigmas in history. Millions of people have a prejudice they often are not even aware of. It is much bigger than a word, but words matter. And the word "retard," whatever its history, reflects a massive problem.

Mental Disability Rights International has found evidence around the world of horrific conditions -- starvation, abuse, isolation -- in institutions serving people with intellectual disabilities. It happens in this country. In Texas, caregivers were recently found to be forcing residents of an institution to awake in the middle of the night and fight one another while staffers cheered and taunted. Here in Washington, repeated investigations have revealed people with intellectual disabilities as the victims of abuse, indifference and negligent death.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Monday Hot Topics: Hot Policy Topics This Week

North Carolina:
After a week of bad weather, the General Assembly is back in full swing today. Here are the meetings of interest to members of our community.

Monday, February 15, 2010
9:30 AM Taskforce on Childhood Obesity 544 LOB

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
9:00 AM Corrections, Crime Control, and Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee, Joint Legislative 643 LOB
9:30 AM Youth and Childrens Subcommittee on Children of Incarcerated Parents 414 LOB
10:00 AM Employee Hospital and Medical Benefits, Committee on 1228/1327 LB
10:00 AM House Select Committee on Homeowners Associations 421 LOB
1:00 PM Education Oversight Committee, Joint Legislative 643 LOB

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
9:00 AM Education Oversight Committee, Joint Legislative 643 LOB
10:00 AM House Select Committee on Coyote Nuisance Removal 415 LOB
2:00 PM Joint Select Com. On Work and Family Balance 415 LOB

Thursday, February 18, 2010
10:00 AM Child Fatality Task Force - Domestic Violence Subcommittee of the Intentional Death Committee 1425 LB
10:00 AM Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation, Joint Legislative Commission 643 LOB
11:00 AM Joint Legislative Task Force on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care 421 LOB

Friday, February 12, 2010

National Disability News: Articles Of Interest

The Arc of NC Policy Blog often finds articles of interest that discuss issues of interest to the larger disability community. We will begin today to bring some of these to our readers. This will be a bi-monthly installment. The intent is to show the growing interest in disability policy as reflected by media groups and universities. We hope you enjoy the read.

Scholar-physician juggles culture, care, compassion

Feb. 10, 2010

by Susannah Brooks

What do frogs and bears have to do with human disability?

[photo] Schalick.

Pediatrician Walton Schalick, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health, examines Ben, a 4-year-old with developmental disabilities, at Central Wisconsin Center. The center is a state residential and short-term medical treatment facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Photo: Jeff Miller

A recent lecture in Walt Schalick’s History of Disability course covers the full spectrum of human-animal relationships. Service animals aren’t the only ones making an impact: Frogs with limb abnormalities can mark environmental change, while the physiology of hibernating bears could help researchers lessen bone loss in bedridden (human) patients.

Perhaps the most striking, however, are the examples of herd behavior. Species who let weak or disabled individuals lag behind put the whole group at risk. Those species who integrate disabled individuals find adaptations that end up strengthening the group’s resiliency. In turn, they increase the sense of mutual care and cooperation within the community.

Read more at the University of Wisconsin Madison News Page.

NC Legislative News: WRAL Reports on New Law Suit Against DHHS

Group files suit against head of DHHS

A disability rights advocacy group filed suit Thursday against the leaders of the state Department of Health and Human Services and a local health service provider alleging that planned cuts in funding for mental health services violate the rights of patients and inhibit their ability to live independently.

The two men, identified in the lawsuit as Clinton L., 46, and Timothy B., 44, are both developmentally disabled and mentally ill. They have been living independently with the help of federal and state support, according to the suit filed by Disability Rights North Carolina.

Read More at WRAL.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NC Legislative News: LOC Meeting Update

On Wednesday the members of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services met for the second time of 2010.
The oversight committee agenda contained multiple topic issues of interest to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, their families and advocates.

Among the issues discussed was the implementation and development of the planned Community Alternative Program (CAP/MR-DD) waivers, the establishment of the Developmental Disability Waiting List, and a report on the state wide North Carolina-Systematic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Respite and Treatment Crisis program (NC-START).
The Arc of North Carolina would like to extend its thanks to the members of the legislative oversight committee for recognizing the need to address the concerns of constituents regarding services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

CAP-MR/DD Waiver-Development and Implementation.

Background: The design of these waivers has taken multiple years. The legislative budget of 2007 included the special provision language to begin the process of developing and implementing the tiered waivers. The impetus behind tiering the waiver was to improve efficiency in funding and to identify and meet the needs of people with DD/ID who are eligible for waiver services. The strategy to create tiered waivers was part of the recommendations made in The Arc of North Carolina’s Road Map to Success. This comprehensive vision of a system of delivering services to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities was created with the input of stakeholders and advocates.

In 2008 the legislature appropriated 10 million dollars to begin the process of opening new Tier 1 support waiver slots and in the special provisions included the break down of CAP/MR-DD funding limits by tiers.

In 2009 by an order of the governor all funding for CAP/MR-DD Slots and other items in the budget were frozen. The members of the North Carolina legislature during the 2009 budget did re-allocate 8 million dollars from state service dollars for CAP/MR-DD recipients to the CAP/MR-DD waiver program. Of the 8 million dollars re-allocated, 4 million went to the opening of the Tier 1 Waiver slots and 4 million went to create a soft freeze on the existing comprehensive waiver slots.

LOC Presentation Synopsis: Rose Burnette of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services presented an update to members regarding the current status of the CAP/MR-DD waivers. In great detail she explained the federal regulations requiring each of the waivers to be “stand alone” with its own quality assurance plan, eligibility criteria, financial tracking and reporting. Each of these waivers is being defined to meet the needs of the intended participants based on the intensity of need, financial limits and services/supports offered in the specific waiver. There will be three waivers the Tier 1 support waiver, the Comprehensive Waiver that will be broken into two bands, and the community intensive waiver. Currently our state is operating two waivers, the support waiver and the comprehensive. LMEs have received information regarding the amount of slots for the new tier 1/support waivers that are now available to be filled. In total there are 1,000 new waiver slots in this category that have been distributed through the system.
For more information please review the power point presentation.

Establishment of the DD Waiting List.

Background: The Arc of North Carolina included legislative agenda for 2009 a bill that would re-establish a statewide waiting list for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Representative Beverly Earle introduced this legislation which passed both chambers and was signed by Governor Bev Perdue on June 26,2009. (HB 673)

LOC Presentation Synopsis: Leza Wainwright with the Division of MH/DD/SAS presented an update on the establishment of the waiting list. The division has done research on waiting lists with the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, has consulted with Celia Feinstein of Temple University and has conducted a survey of sister states. The information that they have collected from 31 states shows that 26 have a statewide waiting list and five do not. Of the 26 states with waiting lists fifteen of them are based on “urgency of need” while 11 are on a “first come first serve” basis. Many of the states only collect information regarding people who are waiting for waiver slots. The legislation that passed in North Carolina is broader in scope. It also includes the collecting of information regarding people with DD waiting for residential services and other DD services.

Currently all LMEs except PBH have been using a standardized prioritization tool that takes into place both urgency and waiting time. The current data only is collected for those waiting for waiver services. The Division will be convening a stakeholder group comprised of LME staff, providers, consumers and family members to design both short term and long-term waiting list implementation processes.

For more information please review the power point presentation.


Background: The Arc of North Carolina During the 2008 legislative session the General Assembly appropriated $1,876,243 dollars to open six crisis teams to serve people with developmental disabilities. The crisis teams were to be distributed across the state. In 2009 members of the General Assembly appropriated the additional sum of $579,084 to fully funding this critical service. This was one of the few appropriations made during a very difficult budget year and it clearly showed a commitment to addressing crisis services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

LOC Presentation Synopsis: Christina Carter with the Division of MH/DD/SAS presented on the current status of NC-START. NC START is an evidenced based model of community based crisis prevention and intervention services for people with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. The services are available to people who are 18 years or older experiencing a crisis due to mental health and or complex behavioral issues. This model was co-authored by Dr. Joan Beasley and Dr. Robert Sovner. The model aims to keep people in crisis in their home or residential setting. North Carolina is the only state to be using this model statewide. NC-START provides both crisis and clinical support. The state funding is currently supporting six crisis/clinical teams in three host LMEs. Those LMEs are Western Highlands Network, The Durham Center, and East Carolina Behavioral Health.

For more information please review the power point presentation.

On Wednesday, all of the presentations made to the Legislative Oversight Committee were consistent with the broader vision advocated for by The Arc of North Carolina. As an organization we continue to work to promote a secure, sustainable, and comprehensive service delivery system that supports the individuals needs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NC Legislative News: Agenda for Joint Legislative Oversight MH/DD/SAS

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services will be holding its next meeting on Wednesday, February 10, 2010. We encourage you to attend this meeting if possible. You can also listen on line by going to the North Carolina Legislative website.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on
Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, & Substance Abuse Services

February 10, 2010 10:00 A.M.; Room 643, Legislative Office Building
Senator Martin Nesbitt, Co-Chair, Presiding

I. Welcome and Opening Comments
Senator Martin Nesbitt, Co-Chair
Representative Verla Insko, Co-Chair
II. Secretary's Remarks
Lanier Cansler, Secretary, DHHS

III. Expenditures and Utilization Tracking Update
Tara Larson, Chief Clinical Operating Officer, DMA

IV. Plans for Development & Implementation of the Tiered
CAP-MR/DD Waiver
Rose Burnette, DD Project Manager, DMH/DD/SAS

V. Status of the Establishment of the DD Waiting List
Leza Wainwright, Director, DMH/DD/SAS

Dr. Craigan Gray, State Medicaid Director
LUNCH 12:30-1:30
VII. Telemedicine SL 2009-315, H1189
Update on SL 2009-340, H243
Michael Lancaster, Chief of Clinical Policy, DMH/DD/SAS

VIII. Mobile Crisis Services
Michael Lancaster, Chief of Clinical Policy, DMH/DD/SAS

Christina Carter, LCSW, Implementation Manager, DMH/DD/SAS

X. Update on Alcohol & Drug Abuse Treatment Centers
Luckey Welsh, Director of State Operated Healthcare Facilities

XI. Final Comments & Adjournment

Next meeting Wednesday March 10th, 2010, 643 LOB

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Arc of the US Report: The Arc of US Follow Up on Meeting with Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel

2/3/2010FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Contact:  Laura Hart
February 3, 2010                                                                                  202.534.3712 

Joint Statement of Disability Leaders

We came here today to meet with Rahm Emanuel and share with him our view on the importance and impact of language.  We wanted to invite Mr. Emanuel and all of America to understand the collective efforts of our community to remove the words “retard” and “retarded” from everyday speech.  

The R-word is polluting our language.  Every day our community hears this word – in schools and workplaces, in print and in movies, on radio and television.  And every day they suffer its dehumanizing effects – mockery, stigma, ridicule.  This is a word that is incredibly damaging – not only to the seven million people with intellectual disabilities, but also their friends, family and to all of us. 

We are thankful to Mr. Emanuel for meeting with us today and hearing our concerns. He sincerely apologized for his mistake and the pain it caused in our community. 

We are happy that he will join more than 54,000 other Americans in pledging to end the use of the R-word at, and that he committed that the administration would continue to look for ways to partner with us, including examining pending legislation in Congress to remove the R-word from federal law. 

Our community has earned the right to be respected instead of ridiculed.  We have suffered injustice for generations and we are demanding that it end.  

This is another small step on the road to a country that accepts the gifts of all.

Julie Petty, Ricardo Thornton, Hannah Jacobs, Andy Imparato, Peter Berns, Tim Shriver 

Arc of the US Report: The Arc of US Invited To White House to Discuss Rahm Remarks.

The Arc Invited to Meeting at White House on the R-word
The Arc of the United States has been invited to attend a meeting at the White House to discuss the recent controversy surrounding the Chief of Staff's use of the r-word. Peter V. Berns, Chief Executive Officer, of The Arc will be attending along with other disability advocates and self-advocates, including: Andy Imparato, American Association of People with Disabilities; Hannah Jacobs, parent; Julie Petty, self-advocate; Tim Shriver, Special Olympics; and Ricardo Thornton, self-advocate.

The Arc Asks for Apology and for Support of Rosa's Law
The following is the text of a letter emailed to White House Chief of Staff on January 28, 2010:

January 28, 2010

Mr. Rahm Emanuel
Chief of Staff
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20050

Dear Mr. Emanuel:

It was deeply distressing to read news reports of your use of an epithet relating to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Constituents of The Arc of the United States (The Arc), the nation’s oldest and largest organization promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, are justifiably upset by the insensitivity to their struggle revealed by the use of this derogatory language.

This recent verbal miscue echoes President Obama’s unfortunate statement last year, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, equating his poor bowling performance with that of people with intellectual disabilities. As disability rights advocates, we expected more from this Administration and presumed that the appointment of a Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy was an assurance that the needs and concerns of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities would be understood and solidly represented.

Statements such as these emanating from the highest levels of government only intensify pervading societal attitudes that people with intellectual disabilities somehow don’t measure up—that their lives are worth less.

The more than seven million Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families deserve a public apology for words that are the moral equivalent of hate speech. This language is disrespectful and demeaning and further undermines the struggle for empowerment that this constituency faces on all fronts: employment, education, housing, and inclusion in every aspect of society.

The Arc of the United States strongly supports legislation (S.2781) introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland that would change the term “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” to “intellectual disabilities” in several federal statutes such as education and employment laws. As advocates for people with intellectual disabilities, we are waging a battle to change hearts and minds and ensure that our constituency enjoys full inclusion and participation in the community. The Arc hopes that the Obama Administration will offer vigorous support for this legislation, which if enacted will be a step forward in achieving these goals.

Thank you in advance for your consideration; we look forward to hearing from you.


Peter V. Berns
Chief Executive Officer
The Arc of the United States

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hill Report: Rahm Meets with Disability Advocates-

Disabilityscoop had this update on its blog today.

‘R-Word’ Remark Prompts Emanuel To Meet With Disability Advocates

By Michelle Diament
FEBRUARY 2, 2010 

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will meet with a group of disability advocates Wednesday, more than a week after a media report quoted him using the word “retarded.”

The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss “the suffering and pain of people with intellectual disabilities that is perpetuated by the use of the terms ‘retard’ and ‘retarded,’” according to a statement from Special Olympics.

Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver and Andrew Imparato of the American Association of People with Disabilities were invited to the White House meeting along with two self-advocates and a parent advocate. They intend to ask Emanuel to become involved in Special Olympics’ campaign to “Spread the Word to End the Word.”

The meeting is the culmination of a week of back and forth after a report in The Wall Street Journal quoted Emanuel using the phrase “f—ing retarded” at a gathering of liberal groups and White House aides in August.

Read More at Disabilityscoop.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Hot Topics: Hot Policy Topics This Week

North Carolina
Due to inclement weather we are unsure if the 9:00AM subcommittees for Poverty Reduction Economic Recovery will take place. As of this posting we have received no cancelation notices. We do know that all other meetings are still on for tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

9:00 AM Poverty Reduction Economic Recovery - Subcommittee on Tax Issues  423 LOB

9:00 AM Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery - Subcommittee on Jobs  424 LOB

9:00 AM Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery - Subcommittee on State Programs 425 LOB

10:00 AM Taskforce on Childhood Obestity  544 LOB

11:00 AM Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery Study Commission 643 LOB

1:00 PM Legislative Study Com. On Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery - Subcommittee on Persistent Poverty  415 LOB

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

9:30 AM Revenue Laws Study Committee  544 LOB

10:00 AM Children and Youth, Legislative Study Commission on 415 LOB

1:00 PM Joint Finance Committee Meeting on Tax Reform 643 LOB

2:00 PM Autism, Spectrum Disorder, Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders, Joint Study Committee on  1027/1128 LB

Thursday, February 4, 2010

10:00 AM House Select Committee on Civil Custody Guardians  1228/1327 LB

10:00 AM Aging, North Carolina Study Commission on  544 LOB

1:00 PM Public Health Study Commission  544 LOB