December 2020 Wisconsin Newsletter
Wisconsin Direct Care Workers in Crisis: You Can Help!
More than 100,000 direct care workers who support people with disabilities and older adults in Wisconsin are in crisis. Not only do they make on average just over $12/hour and have difficulty paying their bills, but they often are going without health insurance or make so little they qualify for public benefit programs. Recently, The Arc Wisconsin joined with other leading disability and direct care provider groups to highlight the challenges in the direct care workforce and to advocate for change. You can find a summary of our direct care workers survey here.

Advocates continue to ask the legislature and Governor Evers to implement the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Caregiving. Make sure to share this report with others—there is also a new Spanish version of the report!
Get Up to Speed With The Arc Experience
Since our last newsletter, we've been busy talking to Wisconsin experts about the issues of the day, including the unexpected silver linings for people with disabilities in COVID-19, predictions for a President Biden administration and what’s happening for family caregivers in our state. We even recorded a fun podcast episode with self-advocates live from the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities Self-Determination Conference!

Tune in today and get caught up with The Arc Experience!
New Wisconsin Data Highlights Increased Risk of COVID-19 for People With Disabilities
Following advocacy from The Arc Wisconsin and other disability advocacy groups, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has begun sharing data about the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities within the long-term care system (Family Care, IRIS). The data shows that people in Family Care and IRIS programs have six times the rate of hospitalization and 6 to 10 times the death rate compared with the general population. See our weekly data summaries here.
Make 2021 a Year of Healthy Living
The Arc Wisconsin is supporting people with disabilities to get healthy! We are bringing the nationally recognized HealthMatters training online to YOU!

Sign up for The Arc Wisconsin Academy HealthMatters classes NOW to start class in April 2021! Participants will learn about exercise, portion control, how healthy eating helps our bodies, and more. Talk to your Family Care care manager or IRIS Consultant TODAY to get this fun class in your plan!
The State Budget: An Opportunity to Make Things Better
2021 will be a budget year for Wisconsin. That means the Governor will introduce his plan, then the state legislature will make changes and take votes. This is an important opportunity to talk about the needs of people with disabilities.

Important dates:

Governor's remaining budget listening sessions:
  • Criminal Justice Reform, Tuesday, December 8 at 6 p.m.; Schools and Education, Wednesday, December 16 at 6:00 p.m. (Registration required)
  • Governor's Budget Address: January
  • Governor introduces his budget: February
  • Legislature debates budget and holds hearings: March – May
  • Legislature takes budget vote: June (estimated)
  • Budget should be signed and enacted by July 1 (does not always happen)

Stay tuned for future budget advocacy opportunities!
Help Us Protect Critical Disability Services This Holiday Season
This year's pandemic has jeopardized the systems and services that people with IDD and their families depend on to live safe and full lives in the community. COVID-19 spreads wildly in nursing homes and institutions, making the availability of home and community-based services a life and death issue for people with IDD. These services are under extreme threat due to state budget crises and their lack of priority in relief legislation. We need your help to protect and expand them.

Please support The Arc Wisconsin this holiday season and donate today. Together, we can continue to advocate for the supports and services that people with disabilities need to live a full life—safe in their communities, participating, and fully included.