April 7, 2017

For us, March came in like a lion and went out roaring! Snow and downpours aside, we've seen some great weather in terms of advocacy, community building and growth. We were on Capitol Hill with The Arc, ICI colleagues and others in mid-March (height of ACA debate), moved to new offices during the same week, hosted a Supporting Families event, started a new Friends initiative with DDS, met with key state leaders and held the The Arc/MDDC Legislative Reception! And that's not all of it.
April won't be too different as we have our annual meeting and welcome Elizabeth Pell.  Elizabeth (pictured with Kerry Mahoney) will help us advance policy in our service system and make it more responsive. Kerry and Elizabeth are co-directors of the Daniel, Angela and Michael Becker Center for Advocacy.
Elizabeth has been an advocate for people with disabilities and older adults for more than 35 years. She is a social worker with policy and hands-on experience that crosses service systems -- intellectual and developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, older adults, and end of life. Her passion is advocating for the voice and preference of individuals and families to be heard and respected.
On Monday, the House Ways and Means budget will be released and we hope for very good weather! 
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
P.S.  Be sure to read the final installment of our family series below. 
Lifespan Series:
Caregivers Growing Older
The Arc often receives calls and emails from family members with with adult children in their 30s and 40s. They have many questions about the future. According to The Arc of the United States, there are almost one million families in which adults with I/DD are living with aging caregivers.   Two-thirds of these families have no plan for the future and many have no connection to the disability community or the disability service system.

As parents and their adult children with disabilities grow older together, they can develop mutually dependent relationships; providing companionship for one another, sharing household chores, and financially sharing household expenses. Some elders are socially isolated; they gave up on the "system" years ago and tend not to utilize technology. Issues about which aging caregivers are concerned include: who will care for their family members when they no longer can do so; where and with whom their family members will live;  who will advocate for them; and what services will be available for them.

Don't Miss Autism Awareness Day!
Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts' Annual Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day event will take place at the State House on Monday, April 10th.  Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the program at 10:15 a.m.  This year's theme is Advocacy Across the Lifespan. Rep. John Scibak will be honored as Legislator of the Year. Join us for the program and then visit your own legislators to advocate for funding and services that are needed for individuals and their families. 

Make A Difference
Advocacy - both personal and systemic - leads to positive results for people with I/DD. The Arc of Massachusetts does both.
Daniel Becker, a leader in the Arc movement, espoused the benefits of advocating on both levels. It is critical, he said, for families to tell their stories and to fight for laws, funding, and services at the State House. But so too is making sure that your family member has what they need to thrive.
A fierce advocate for his son Michael, he trained parents to speak up, whether they were convincing legislators to increase funding or they were negotiating with school administrators. The skills are transferrable, he would say.
The Arc of Massachusetts advocates relentlessly, seeking to enhance the lives of the 200,000 people in the state who have autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other I/DD.
Since our founding 62 years ago, we have taken this battle to the State House, to Capitol Hill, and beyond; this past year has been no different. This approach pays off. For example, in January, Governor Charlie Baker released his proposed budget for 2018. It reflects a landmark policy change: Turning 22 finally would be fully funded with the $24 million it needs.
This would not have happened without The Arc's continued pressure and the support of thousands of concerned Massachusetts residents like you.
Systemic advocacy . It is making a difference, but it does not happen without people like you making it possible. You can keep this advocacy strong by giving to The Arc of Massachusetts today.
Empowering people with I/DD and their families to be personal advocates is equally important. The Arc of Massachusetts offers several programs to help families and self-advocates be more effective in their own advocacy. Low-cost webinars to address urgent, real-life topics with which families struggle; SUPPORTbrokers  helps people with disabilities achieve their vision; and the biennial Transition Conference.
These services and programs help thousands of families across Massachusetts not just manage or get by, but to thrive. Hopefully, your own family or loved one is among them.
Your dedication makes all the difference. Please consider making a gift today.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovernmentaffairs
Nicky's Law
The Arc has been diligently working with stakeholders for over a year on the development and filing of an abuse registry to protect the safety and dignity of people with disabilities. This bill will create an abuse registry where those substantiated of abuse or neglect of an individual with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities will be listed. The bill was filed by Senator Mike Moore and Representative Linda Dean Campbell and it is called Nicky's Law, S 64 H 80.
Nicky's Law will require all provider agencies to check the registry through inquiry before hiring a new employee. The Arc has worked with the appropriate agencies including the DPPC and DDS in preparation for implementation as soon as it becomes law.
Nicky's story will be highlighted this month through Notes from The Arc and on a special Facebook page to make the community aware of the need for this legislation. The Arc is asking for your help in getting behind the passage of Nicky's Law!  Please contact Maura Sullivan , Dir of Gov Affairs for more information on how to help us advocate for this important initiative.

Autonomy, Decision Making Supports, 
and Guardianship 

April 11, 2017 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Turning 18? Know your Options! There are more and more alternatives to giving your young adult  a safety net as they reach the age of majority!
Attorney Frederick Misilo will explain the options:
  • Medical Proxy
  • Power of attorney
  • Supported Decision Making 
  • Representative Payee
  • Pros and Cons of Guardianship.
Get your questions answered!  Imagine meeting with an attorney for $25!
Register today at http://bit.ly/2hfDTpz 
Presented by Attorney Frederick Misilo, Group Chairperson, Special Needs Practice, Fletcher Tilton, PC.  
Did you miss a webinar ?

 It is not too late! You can view the recorded webinar using The Arc's on demand feature.  To view click here and select "view session recordings."
WHAT'S TRENDINGwhatstrending
BAMSI's 4th Annual Magic of Home Gala
Join BAMSI on May 5 in the Ballroom at Granite Links Golf Club as we celebrate Cinco DeMayo with Master of Ceremonies Jack Williams, retired WBZ-TV anchor who will present the Jack and Marci Williams Humanitarian of the Year award to WB Mason's Chairman and Brockton native Steve Greene.  The evening will include gourmet grazing and dancing to the tunes of the fabulous World Premiere Band. For tickets: http://bit.ly/2mHWyJA or contact Barbara Duffy at BAMSI at 508.484.7147.
Last year's Humanitarian of the Year recipient Eliot Tatelman, President of Jordan's Furniture with Mistress of Ceremonies, Susan Wornick, retired anchor of WCVB TV, along with Tony Simonelli, President and CEO of BAMSI and Vanessa Tierney, Chief Operations Officer at BAMSI.
SAVE THE DATE: The 24th Annual Shared Living & AFC Conference

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center
181 Boston Post Road W, Marlborough  
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |   arcmass.org