October 8, 2021
Times Union Commentary on DSP Workforce Emergency
Erik Geizer, CEO of the Arc New York, Michael Seereiter, President and CEO of New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation, and Mike Alvaro, Executive Director of the Cerebral Palsy Association of NYS joined their voices in an opinion piece published in the Times Union this morning advocating for investment in the Direct Support Professional workforce.

They called on state leaders to "end the longstanding underfunding of the I/DD community so that highly skilled, compassionate individuals who choose this career aren’t forced to leave for better-paying jobs, and the people they care for can have the support they need to live healthy, full lives.”

Their request of the governor was simple and clear, asking “the administration to listen and commit to prioritizing New Yorkers with I/DD — not just today, but for years to come.” Read their full message here.

The Arc US 24-Hour Storytelling Vigil
As negotiations around the Build Back Better plan stall in Washington, care advocates from across the country held a 24-hour vigil outside the U.S. Capitol to urge elected leaders to hold the line on caregiving funding in the Build Back Better plan. 

Senator Bob Casey met disability rights activists and care workers who participated in a 24-hour storytelling vigil. Casey reiterated his commitment to fully fund critical services to ensure the health and well-being of people with disabilities and aging adults. Advocates from the diverse "Care Can't Wait" coalition of disability rights, labor, health, aging and caregiving groups also shared the steep health and financial costs that families pay as a result of poverty wages paid to care workers and long waitlists for home and community-based services (HCBS).

Senator Casey closed out the vigil outside the Capitol Thursday by imploring his colleagues in Congress to vote “yes” on the transformative Build Back Better plan that could “put the country on the road to having the best caregiving in the world.”

The event was co-hosted by The Arc of the United States and other members of the Care Can’t Wait Coalition. We encourage you to view photos of the vigil and rally, watch the archived livestream, and read the full press release on this powerful event.

Proposed Amicus Brief
The Arc New York has filed a motion with the New York State Appellate Division requesting permission to file an Amicus Brief for Appeal of MHLS on Behalf of Oliviah CC v. Delaney et al. The proposed Amicus Brief would be filed in support of the Plaintiff, a minor who was left stranded in an emergency room for more than five weeks waiting for a residential school placement because her family was unable to safely take her home upon discharge and OPWDD could not find her housing.

This case is on appeal from a State Supreme Court decision from August 2019, in which the Court held that OPWDD and DOH fulfilled their duty to the plaintiff by simply attempting to find her a placement, and that they couldn’t compel OPWDD to provide her with alternative placement in the interim. A copy of the underlying decision can be found here.

This is an important case for our field as we continue to see individuals in need of emergency placement who OPWDD is unable to support or place in a timely manner. We hope that the case will be calendared for oral argument in early 2022.

New US Education Department IEP Guidance
The US Education Department released guidance late last week around the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) in the context of COVID-19. While many topics are covered extensively in this guidance, Robyn Linscott, Public Policy Manager at the Arc US, prepared highlights of information that might be of particular interest. You can find the full Q&A guidance document here.

The highlighted topics include:
  • Providing special education and related services during a change in service delivery (moving from in-person to virtual learning, etc.)
  • Addressing the social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs of children with disabilities
  • Protecting students with disabilities with underlying medical conditions
  • Considering the need for compensatory services
  • Considering secondary transition services
CMS Webinar: Supporting Adults with I/DD and Their Aging Caregivers
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invites you to attend an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, October 12 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM, to advance learning and recommendations from the June 2021 Supporting Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and Their Aging Caregivers Summit. The webinar will focus on strategies for state Medicaid agencies and their partner agencies to improve the delivery of supports and services for adults with I/DD and their aging caregivers. Previous participation in the June 2021 summit is not required. Learn more and register here.
This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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