MOHR impact
January 2020
Parent: daughter should choose work, home settings
Laura Kovacovich works at the Hubbard County DAC in Park Rapids. Her mother said the wage she earns is not important to her, but having a productive and meaningful job in a developmentally appropriate setting is extremely important.
By Dawn Kovacovich, Hubbard County

My 28-year-old daughter, Laura Kovacovich is a special young woman who has asked me to share her point of view on what it means to be “fully integrated.” Laura was born three months premature with multiple disabilities including autism, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and severe vision and hearing loss.

She has an outstanding memory, and with one-to-one paraprofessional support, Laura was able to successfully attend public school in a “fully integrated” setting with non-disabled peers. At the time, my husband and I felt that this model would provide Laura with the best education possible. However, due to the severity of her anxiety and social limitations, this would not have been possible without having one-to-one paras who provided daily communication with us and stayed at Laura’s side to provide needed assistance.

Many people think of integration only from the perspective of what they want for themselves. What they don’t usually think about is what it might feel like to always be in the minority. Our family observed how Laura absolutely blossomed every year when she attended summer camp with other autistic children. -more-

-Watch Laura in the PBS segment below-
Governor supports PCAs - disability forum
Gov. Tim Walz said personal care attendants (who are similar to direct support professionals), provide critical, cost-effective services to improve people's quality of life.
"If we truly believe in the dignity of every individual and the work that PCAs do than we certainly can't hide behind paying them less than they would make at Kwik Trip, or making sure that it's difficult to retain and keep people." Gov. Tim Walz - Minn. Council on Disability Forum - Jan. 13, 2020
After constant changes, we will advance in 2020 with strong advocacy
Happy New Year! I’m grateful for the opportunity that a new year brings to reflect on the past, and plan for the future.
2019 was a year of constant change in our field. Services, funding, rules, and regulations all changed in some way, with the intent to increase peoples’ employment opportunities, continue to improve the Disability Waiver Rate System, and modify Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) billing documentation. Despite the pressure put on MOHR members by these changes and the continued workforce shortage, providers in Minnesota continued to offer high-quality, person-centered services that ensure people receiving supports continue to live the lives they choose and engage with their communities. -more-
Enter now for Life Enrichment Awards
Individual lives are made through meaningful services and MOHR is looking for some excellent examples for its Third Annual Life Enrichment Awards. Most anyone can nominate a MOHR member for this non-vocational recognition and member partners are also highlighted. Please send your nominations by February 28, 2020. View the 2019 winners.
Building a Sustainable Workforce - Day at Capitol theme
Ideas for members to reach out
The Best Life Alliance (BLA) has released a one page document entitled “Building a Sustainable Workforce to Support People with Disabilities” and a link in this article will connect you to their website for more information and updates during the 2020 legislative session. (Please note, until the bills are officially jacketed, this document has placeholders for the actual bill numbers that will be used in the 2020 session.)

As a provider it is not too late to invite your Senator and Representative to visit your program. This visit could include observing clients participating in life enrichment activities, clients engaged in center-based work, a discussion of client work crew and direct-hire placements, and a meeting with clients to hear their concerns and issues. As part of this visit you could share the BLA document for the legislator to take with them and, if it supports the legislative initiatives, perhaps share the average wage, number of open positions, and turnover rate for DSPs in your program. -more-
Sign up by February 14 for Disability Services Day at the Capitol on March 10
Member NEWS

Bark’s Bytes #39 | Smoke & Fire

Kandi Works DAC sets luncheons to showcase services - West Central Tribune

ProAct recycles holiday lights - Sun Thisweek

Celebrating the holiday season (WCI) - West Central Tribune

Waite Park Police investigating fake bomb threat - WJON Radio

MOHR is looking for news from members to share with its audience.
Please send it to us for possible inclusion in MOHR impact.
Give HHS Blue Ribbon commission feedback, get updates
Minnesota’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services (the Commission) is seeking strategy suggestions for consideration for possible inclusion in the legislatively mandated action plan. Learn more here and sign up for email updates.
In the NEWS
Disability rights to take center stage as Minnesota Legislature sets to convene (be sure to view comments) - Star Tribune

Letter: Not all disability is permanent - Star Tribune

Amy Klobuchar rolls out plan aimed at bolstering rights for people with disabilities Washington Times

Helping people with disabilities find meaningful work is Kuntz's goal

Parents of adult children with disabilities work to fill housing gap

Alex Bartolic's career was guided by a vision for full inclusion - Access Press

Counterpoint: 'Chaotic Care' series doesn't tell whole story of services for the disabled

Minnesota Wild special team practice . . . Brainerd Dispatch

Promoting policy for access, equity and independence for Minnesotans with disabilities

MN Human Services reassigns former anti-fraud supervisor - Pioneer Press

Brown County Browser: Department of Human Services - The New Ulm Journal

Third-party group to study potential restructure of DHS - West Central Tribune
Thriving on special minimum wage? Tell us.
Few, if any, in the mainstream are talking about special minimum wage (14c) as a valued option that people with disabilities can choose. MOHR wants to tell those stories. Can you help?

Do you know of individuals with disabilities:

  • Who had not previously worked until the special minimum wage option was made available.
  • Who used this option as preparation to get hired directly.
  • Who could possibly work as a direct hire but have decided that this option is the best fit right now.

Please email your special minimum wage stories to Aaron .
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The Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation - To Advocate and support members in providing meaningful services to persons with disabilities and communities served.