STAY CONNECTED:
June 14, 2018
LEO'S LETTER leo
Squeezed!
Released this week, FINDS 2017 is a report on the status of 3,398 caregivers (majority are parents) who care for a family member with an intellectual or developmental disability. The Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports Community Report is a collaborative effort between The Arc and the Institute for Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Some key findings include:
  1. Families provide an average of 57.4 hours of care each week
  2. Addressing health is a challenge as a high percentage of caregivers reported extreme stress and a lack of attention to their own health needs
  3. Workforce participation is affected with most noting impact on hours (leaving early, arriving late) with 33% declining promotions
At the same time, both families and agencies struggle to find direct support staff (DSPs) who can assist. At a congressional hearing held this spring, witnesses testified that the number of DSPs is dropping in part because the "DSP wage scale is low, and career paths do not exist. The average wage [nationally] is $10.72 per hour." The witnesses also noted that more than one-third of DSPs are uninsured and nearly one-quarter qualify for Medicaid. Massachusetts' John Butterworth of Institute at Community Inclusion at UMASS Boston was one of those who testified along with other experts.

We find ourselves squeezed by the lack of access to services for some and an insufficient workforce for many. All this adds up to people with disabilities not receiving the assistance which they require while family members are stretched to the limit. There are two ways out of this squeeze: committing to a significant investment to develop an adequate workforce; and, transforming our system of support with a focus on self-direction, family support, employment services, transportation, and technology. If successful, the transformation will slow the rise of the costs of services which will help pay for the investment needed.
 
It will take all our will and planning to achieve this goal. And it's time.

Sincerely,




Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
FEATURED Featured
Help The Arc build better lives for all members of the I/DD community
The challenges facing the more than 200,000 families in the Commonwealth impacted by intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) are plentiful. But each and every day, The Arc of Massachusetts works to enhance the lives of people with I/DD and assist their families.
 
Through advocacy, education, and outreach, The Arc of Massachusetts is giving individuals with disabilities and their families a powerful voice. We bring their struggles to light by sharing their stories in the State House, in the Capitol, in the community, in the court room, and in the classroom to help elected leaders, public officials, and citizens understand their needs.
 
You can help us remain at the forefront of the struggle to build better lives for all members of the community.  Can we count on you to make our work possible with a donation before the end of our fiscal year on June 30?

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovaffairs
Contact your legislators: Support The Arc's DDS line items!

Attention Advocates: The FY2019 budget is currently in Conference Committee and we need your help so that the highest amount of funding possible for our priorities is agreed upon by the two branches. The Conference Committee is comprised of Senators Spilka, Lovely, and deMacedo and Reps Sanchez, Kulik, and Smola.

#TheArcVotes interview with Congressman Kennedy
On June 12, self-advocate and State House aide Brian Heffernan met with his Congressman, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, from Massachusetts's 4th congressional district to discuss The Arc of Massachusetts's Get Out the Vote campaign. The Arc's Maura Sullivan (Director of Government Affairs), Katerina Daley (Development and Digital Media Associate), and Julie Heffernan (Advocacy Alliance Coordinator) also attended the meeting.

Brian interviewed Congressman Kennedy and asked him about his first voting experience, why it is important for everyone in the country to vote, and what he would say to someone who says that people with disabilities should not vote. Congressman Kennedy's answers to all three questions were thoughtful and inspiring.

The full interview will be posted on the upcoming Voting and Elections page of The Arc of Massachusetts website, which will debut on Monday, June 18.  #TheArcVotes
20th Annual Central Massachusetts Legislative Breakfast
The 20th Annual Legislative Breakfast at College of the Holy Cross hosted by The Center of Hope Foundation, the Providers of Central MA, and the South Valley DDDS Citizen Advisory Board had a large turnout of local State Senators and Representatives.

This year's theme was "What is Your Vision?" DDS Commissioner, Jane Ryder, related her family experience and the importance of recognizing the special uniqueness of all individuals. This was another great event by put on by The Center of Hope and other area sponsors. A special recognition is given to this year's Moderator, Linda Cournoyer, who also serves as a member of The Arc of Massachusetts's Government Affairs Committee.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
First Responders Safety Awareness Day
Presented by TILL's Autism Support Center and the Boston Police Department
Friday, June 29 | 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Garvey Park, 340 Neponset Avenue, Boston

Be sure to take advantage of this inclusive event! Meet First Responders and learn about their special programs. Light refreshments and summertime treats will be provided, as well as crafts, activities, and more! For more information, contact autism.services@tillinc.org.
MFOFC's Advocacy Bootcamp now accepting applications
Northeast Region of Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) is delighted to invite primary caregivers of young children (birth to age 10) who have developmental disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or complex medical needs to apply for the 2018 Advocacy Bootcamp! Advocacy Bootcamp builds foundational advocacy skills so that participants can empower their children to lead rich, meaningful, and exciting lives.

All application materials must be submitted by August 1, 2018. Space is limited.

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |  thearcofmass.org