News to Use features important information and resources for self-advocates, parents, and professionals. During Maryland's Legislative Session, News to Use will be released once monthly!
Taking Action
Join Us for Developmental Disabilities Days at the Legislature
February 9th to 12th
This year, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition is coordinating a week of virtual advocacy and opportunities for information and connection with legislators from February 9th to 12th for Developmental Disabilities Days at the Legislature!

Our main DD Days event is on Tuesday, February 9th, from 9 to 11 AM. If you have participated in DD Day in downtown Annapolis in years past, this is your opportunity to take part online! The event is free to attend due to a generous grant from The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and hard work from all members of the DD Coalition! During the other days of the week, there will be opportunities for additional advocacy. Stay tuned!
Small Grant Opportunity: Engagement and Connection during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Info Call on February 4th at 12 PM
DDA licensed, registered, or certified community-based organizations are invited to apply for a Small Grant Opportunity, Engagement and Connection during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Funding of $500 to $5,000 may be available to awardees to meet the needs of people with I/DD and their families, promote engagement with peers, increase and maintain connections with family, peers, employers, and others, and/or increase positive shared experiences.

Learn more on our website and register for an info call to be held on February 4th at noon!
This project is supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.
In the News
While Maryland Moves Into Phase 1C of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Many People with IDD from 1B Remain Unable to Obtain the Vaccine
Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Health announced that the state would begin phase 1C of their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This phase includes essential healthcare workers who were are not in phase 1A, such as unlicensed or uncertified Direct Support Professionals.
CORRECTION: While people with developmental disabilities in congregate living and all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who are 16 and older are in phase 1B (See Maryland Department of Health updates from 1/14), thousands have been unable to receive their vaccines. Unfortunately, inconsistent information from the Maryland Department of Health, combined with local health department authority to further stratify and prioritize people within each phase has complicated access, and prevented people with IDD from registering for appointments.

In counties where people with IDD cannot even register to wait in line for the vaccine, people with IDD sense that they have been de-prioritized and pushed behind other groups, including K-12 teachers and incarcerated individuals.

Studies show that people with disabilities are up to ten times more likely to perish from COVID-19, depending on their type of disability. Additionally, people with I/DD are high on the risk and vulnerability scale, alongside older adults and essential healthcare workers.

With our partners, The Arc Maryland advocates for better communication between the state leadership and the counties about the prioritization of people with IDD in 1B, and matching policies and procedures that will correct this situation immediately.

Please contact the following people to share your story and messages on the concerning practices in your counties today! Please copy in your messaging to aid in our state-level advocacy of the issue.

Bryan Mroz, Assistant Secretary & Chief Medical Officer

Jinlene Chan, M.D., Acting Deputy Secretary, Public Health Services

Dennis Schrader, Acting Secretary of Health
Maryland Senators Add $520 Million To Hogan’s Relief Proposal
This week, the Maryland State Senate proposed an amendment to the Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families (RELIEF) Act, SB0496, which includes an additional $520 Billion to enhance the Governor's COVID-19 relief efforts.

Included in the proposed package is $22 million to restore the Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP), grants to community developmental disabilities providers to support pandemic-related expenses, and funding for schools to accommodate students with disabilities in need. The Arc Maryland will provide an update to these amendments and Senate decisions in our Insider on Monday. Stay Tuned!
Maryland Drivers With a Disability Can Obtain a Voluntary Disability Self-Disclosure Card
Based on legislation passed during the 2020 Session (HB1118), Maryland drivers with developmental disabilities now have an option to disclose their disability with law enforcement. The MVA will provide an additional card to keep alongside your drivers' license.

The policy looks to create more positive experiences and better communications between people with developmental disabilities who have encounters with police and other law enforcement officials.