June 3, 2021
Call to Action: Special Education Funding
On April 12, the State Education Department (SED) sent their proposed recommendations to the Division of Budget (DOB) for the 2021-22 school year tuition rates for preschool and school age special education providers, which includes a 7% increase among other proposals. New York school districts received a 7% funding increase, however DOB responded to SED's request for special education funding by offering only a 4% increase and denying other important requests. 
DOB has continued an unfortunate, decades-long trend of systemic underfunding for special education schools. Given the historic discrimination against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this lack of fairness is particularly egregious. To their credit, SED countered DOB's latest letter by stating, “Providing the same 7% trend factor for special education providers as was provided to school districts would ensure funding equity and parity for all students with disabilities, without regard to their public educational placement.“ We commend SED for standing up for special education funding and not backing down.
With the amount of federal education dollars coming to New York, we need Governor Cuomo and state legislators to tell DOB to support SED’s plan. We have waited long enough to be recognized as a critical education resource and cannot let this opportunity pass us by! Add your voice to the call through our online campaign here
Workforce Summit
On Wednesday, New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) brought together key stakeholders from government, provider agencies, and other fields for a Workforce Summit to discuss the challenges of our current workforce crisis, and explore efficient and effective solutions. The Summit featured panelists from The Arc New York. Topics and themes explored during the Summit will be synthesized into a forthcoming whitepaper. You can view the recording in its entirety here

White House Unveils FY 2022 Budget
On May 28, President Biden released his budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022. In addition to details of the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, the budget provides substantial increases for many of The Arc’s priority discretionary programs. The most notable increases were for Vocational Rehabilitation Demonstration and Training programs (604%), Individuals with Disabilities Act Personnel Preparation (177%), and Lifespan Respite Care Act (100%). You can view a listing of discretionary programs and their proposed percentage increases here

Next Round of Input Needed on The Arc US Core Values
Based on input collected through their April 2021 survey, and input from The Arc’s board, committees, and councils, The Arc US created a new draft of the Core Values and Guiding Principles and are asking Chapters to contribute their thoughts on this important initiative. This is your best opportunity to influence the content of the final Core Values & Guiding Principles that will come up for a vote at the 2021 annual meeting at The Arc's National Convention. Take the survey and share your thoughts here by Friday, June 11.
Opportunity for Chapters to Support AbilityOne Program
The SourceAmerica network is presenting an opportunity to collectively advocate with hundreds of other organizations in support of the AbilityOne Program and Employment Opportunities/Barriers via ACCSES.

ACCSES will send this letter to congressional leadership on June 8. If you would like to sign on, please send Kate Sweeny a short email by Monday, June 7, with your name, title, organization, and email address. If you include your organization’s logo, they will add it to the letter next to your electronic signatures to ensure your congressional leaders can tie this advocacy effort to your individual agency and the impact it will have in your community.

Family Support Services Quarterly Committee Meeting
The next public meeting of the Family Support Services (FFS) Quarterly Committee will be held June 8, from noon to 2 PM via WebEx. You can join the meeting here.

Nineteen local FSS Advisory Councils, made up of individuals with developmental disabilities and family members plan, coordinate and monitor the delivery of FSS across the state. A Statewide FSS Committee made up of one representative from each of the nineteen local FSS Advisory Councils advises OPWDD regarding families’ support needs and the design, implementation and monitoring of FSS. The full schedule of public meetings is available here.

The Arc US Promotes Direct Support Professional (DSP) Toolkit
As part of continued efforts to expand resources for chapters across the nation, The Arc of the United States has developed a DSP Toolkit that focuses on helping chapters find, choose, and retain committed and talented DSPs. The toolkit can be accessed through The Arc Us chapter portal, which is available to all Arc chapters and members.

Continued Advocacy on Workforce Crisis
The Arc of the United States and The Arc of New York are strongly advocating to ensure Congress makes a historic investment in Medicaid HCBS and addresses the direct care workforce crisis in the American Jobs Plan. COVID-19 economic recovery must include investments in our care infrastructure.  

In support of these efforts, The Arc US announced the launch of their #MedicaidCantWait campaign toolkit. The toolkit includes sample social media graphics, letters to the editor, and more to support our ongoing advocacy.  

The Arc US also updated their #MedicaidCantWait webpage, which includes key shareable resources, a video explaining the need for increased Medicaid HCBS funding, and a call to action to add your voice to an online campaign to encourage your network to tell Congress why HCBS matters to them!  

If you have not already done so, please share the campaign with your larger network, family, and friends, using the available toolkit resources when possible. 
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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