More than 200 people were at the State House to hear experts, lawmakers, and employers encourage more supports for individuals who live with a developmental disability during the John E. Fogarty Foundation’s March observance of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
The event was hosted by Mary Fogarty McAndrew, daughter of the late Rhode Island Congressman John E. Fogarty, who is known for his legendary work on behalf of those living with a
Kerri Zanchi, Director of Developmental Disabilities Division, was an invited speaker at the event. She explained the important changes that are underway for I/DD youth transitioning from high school into the adult service system.
Ms Zanchi underscored the department's new policy “Eligibility by 17,” developed to ensure that students are receiving the right transition services at the right time.
By determining eligibility at 17 it provides the schools, the Office Rehabilitative Services (ORS) and our division information on who will be eligible to receive certain services. School districts work with ORS to provide students with job skills, development and training; then, our division will work ORS to further enhance job skills and assist in finding employment or help with job retention. As an Employment First state we e
mphasize building employment skills for the youth who will be entering the adult Developmental Disabilities system.
We end this newsletter with Mary Fogarty McAndrew's words, as she told the packed audience, “I know that all the people here today get up every day to ensure that individuals living a disability have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”