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
Restraint and Seclusion in Maryland Schools - A Presentation and Community Conversation
Thursday, February 18th from 3:30 to 5:00 pm
Join The Arc Maryland, with presenters from the Alliance against Seclusion and Restraint, Disability Rights Maryland, and The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, this Thursday at 3:30 PM to learn more about seclusion and restraint in Maryland and for a Community Conversation on the topic. HB1166 will be discussed as well as a strategy for reducing restraint and ending seclusion in Maryland. Register now!
Small Grant Opportunity: Engagement and Connection During the COVID-19 Pandemic
1st Round Prop0sals Due February 19th at 5 pm
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.
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. Submit your proposal by this Friday, February 19th at 5 PM for first-round consideration!
Join the "National Day of Action" for Medicaid Disability Funding
Please take 2 minutes to amplify the voices of people with disabilities and the community providers who support them!

Please use this action tool today to ask Congress to say yes to increased funding for the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program during the pandemic.

Why Does Your Action Matter? The HCBS program is the program that supports people with disabilities to live, learn, work, and play in their communities with supports. The program is essential to keeping people with disabilities safe at home during the pandemic but it is currently stretched by the demands of COVID-19.

With Congress moving forward on a new COVID-19 emergency funding package, ANCOR (The American Network of Community Options and Resources) is joining a coalition of national disability organizations to show strong support for an increase in funding for the HCBS program. In an important but not-yet-guaranteed victory for the disability community, the House COVID-19 relief package has a provision that would grant an increase to Medicaid totaling $9 billion specifically for the HCBS program during the pandemic. However, your action is still needed because that provision is not in the Senate package.

During the reconciliation process, the House and the Senate will each produce their own bill and then negotiate compromise legislation. With the House scheduled to vote on its reconciliation bill today, we want to ensure our community is heard loud and clear that the HCBS program is essential to us and our loved ones. Please ask both chambers to support increased funding in their respective relief legislation and during negotiations for a final COVID-19 package.
National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar
Check out this webinar from the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) for information on the COVID-19 vaccine. The webinar, hosted by doctors, addresses some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine from DSPs. Click the video here to watch!
In the News
Maryland Departments of Health and Aging Collaborate on Vaccine Outreach for Vulnerable Populations
Call 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829)
Yesterday, the Maryland Department of Health announced the soft launch of a COVID-19 Vaccination Support Center for call-based support at the phone number 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829). The phone line was set up to aid some of Maryland's populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 without internet access to share information on the COVID-19 Vaccine and help them find vaccine providers near their homes. The phone line will be open every day from 7 AM to 10 PM.
Governor Hogan Makes Announcements on Schools. Hospitals, Nursing Homes. and Vaccines
Last week, Governor Larry Hogan shared a flurry of announcements regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Click the button for more information. Highlights include:
  • Up to 1 million COVID-19 tests for Maryland Schools that are open in-person and planning to open during the school year.
  • Limited visitation in hospitals and nursing homes, on or after March 1st.
  • Mass Vaccination Sites are set to open across the state at some point in March, along with M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore City opening on February 25th.
  • Each county will be appointed an Equity Officer to reach critical populations in need of the vaccine.
Past and Upcoming Events
Thank You to Everyone Who Used Their Voices During Developmental Disabilities Days at the Legislature!
From February 9th to 12th, people with IDD, their families, Direct Support Professionals, provider organization employees, and legislators across the state celebrated Developmental Disabilities Days at the Legislature! The week of online advocacy began in earnest on the 9th during our main event, where more than 1000 advocates logged in, joining together on Zoom and Facebook Livestream to hear about priorities during Maryland's 2021 Legislative Session.

Throughout the morning, advocates heard from the Governor and First Lady Hogan, Members of our Senate and House leadership, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Developmental Disabilities Administration, and the Maryland State Department of Education. All speakers expressed their gratitude for the advocacy of Marylanders with IDD and their strength during a difficult 2020. Our champions in the legislature renewed commitments to our community and highlighted legislative priorities including the FY22 budget and other initiatives to protect and advance the rights of people with IDD.

If you were not able to attend DD Day this year, you can still catch up by watching the recording on the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition Facebook page. Review fact sheets and other documents on the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council website. Thank you to everyone who participated in DD Days and for your advocacy for #CommunityForAll now and throughout 2021!
Special Olympics Maryland Leadership Weekend
March 6th and 7th
Coming up next month, Special Olympics Maryland is holding a Leadership Weekend online for all athletes to attend! The weekend covers several exciting topics to stay active, healthy, and virtually successful! For more information and how to register for courses, click the link below. 
DDA Amendments #3 Webinar
February 26th from 1:00 to 3:30 pm
Maryland Department of Health. Developmental Disabilities Administration Logo
The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) has released guidance memos related to the Family Supports Waiver, Community Supports Waiver, and Community Pathways Waiver Amendment #3 2020. DDA invites you to join them for a webinar to review the guidance and answer questions on February 26th from 1 to 3:30 PM. You can review the waivers and register for the webinar below.