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Maryland Department of Disabilities
February 2017 Newsletter
Up close headshot of Governor Hogan
Governor Hogan's Budget Prioritizes Serving More Marylanders With Disabilities

Governor Hogan released his proposed FY18 budget in January outlining several ways to provide support for an even greater number of Maryland residents with disabilities, while still maintaining a control on spending during a tight budget year. These programs go a step beyond simply preventing crises and begin to address long standing wait lists for services.
"During a tight budget year, we need to make choices which will support as many Marylanders as possible to live and thrive in our state. I stand behind our commitment to Marylanders with disabilities and their families, while continuing to look for ways to work with this community to improve the lives of all our residents," says Governor Hogan 

Governor Hogan's Proposed Budget Highlights:
  • Two new waiver programs through the Developmental Disabilities Administration reducing the current wait list (non-crisis resolution) by approximately 400 individuals
  • 100 additional slots on the Autism waiver allowing our state to expand and now serve 1,100 families in need 
  • A $1 million increase in State funding for the Division of Rehabilitation Services in order to reduce the waitlist for services by more than 600 individuals
  • A 2 percent across the board wage increase for Direct Support Professionals serving a variety of programs
  • $250,000 to support at least one college or university in exploring the development of an inclusive post-secondary education program for people with intellectual disabilities
  • Funding to continue implementation of the ABLE Program with a goal operational date of October, 2017
  • $1.3 billion for mental health and substance use disorder services, along with an additional $4 million in funding to bolster the state's work to help those struggling with heroin and opioid addiction
First Lady poses with young girl and certificate
First Lady's Mental Health Art Series
Recognizing the importance of mental health awareness and the expressive power of art, Maryland's First Lady will host a series of art shows this Spring highlighting mental health awareness month in May.  Both shows will be displayed in the House Office building in Annapolis.  The first, will focus on adult artists who express their mental health journey through their works.  Each set of artwork will express a narrative of personal healing and spark discussion on the reduction of stigma associated with mental health concerns. 

The second show highlights the importance of good mental health for Maryland's youth.  Mrs. Hogan invites all young people to participate in this state-wide art project. Children and youth are asked to create artwork expressing something which makes them feel mentally happy, healthy and/or hopeful. A selection of this work will be showcased in Annapolis at Celebrating Through Art: The First Lady's Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display.

Learn more about the call for artwork and how you, your child, your school, or program can participate by clicking on the below link. Please contact Carrie Mcgraw with questions at

Children's Mental Health Matters Link
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2017 Legislative Session

The Maryland Department of Disabilities hosts a listing of disability related bills being considered during the 2017 legislative session on the department's website. This listing is updated at least weekly as new bills are introduced.  The links take you to the Maryland Legislative page for each proposed bill so you can follow the status directly.  The bill listing does not indicate department or administration support or non support of the legislation.
Man with Down Syndrome smiling with young girl
Brave In The Attempt

Join the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Developmental Disabilities Administration, Special Olympics Maryland, StoryCorps, and the Disability Visibility Project on June 7th at Towson University for Brave in the Attempt.
Brave in the Attempt will use a personal story telling platform to encourage those with disabilities to serve as mentors and role models for others with disabilities and the wider community. The public will have an opportunity to record their own life experiences for the StoryCorps project while at the event.  All of these short stories are archived on the StoryCorps website and at the Library of Congress.  Attendees will also have the chance to enjoy speakers who have intellectual and developmental disabilities discussing their own life experiences. The event will feature a resource fair and lots to do!  Don't miss it! Stay tuned for more information and how to sign up!   
Blue square with words, ABLE Act written in it
ABLE Program Listening Sessions

Join us for Maryland ABLE program listening and information sessions throughout Maryland: 
  • Understand the basics of the Maryland ABLE Program
  • Learn more about where Maryland is in the implementation process
  • Understand how federal policies affect Maryland ABLE
  • Provide feedback on your needs to ensure a responsive and successful program
  • Bring your questions for the implementation team

Stay tuned for more information on a webinar based town hall coming soon!                            
2017 Professional Transition Conference

Do not miss the Inter Agency Transition Council's 2017 Professional Transition Conference, Transition Planning that WORKS.  The event will be held on March 20th at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville.  See the link for further details.