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Welcome the Newest Additions to The Arc Maryland Administrative Team!
Kathy Swanson, Consulting Director of Education and Development

Kathy is a graduate of The University of Michigan, receiving a Juris Doctorate from the Michigan State College of Law. During more than two decades of experience in non-profit management, she worked for the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Baltimore City for twelve years with parishes that provided services to persons who were food and housing insecure as well as those effected by violence.
 
Kathy's policy, training and advocacy experience for persons with disabilities include prior work for The Arc Maryland, The Arc Howard County, The Arc of York County (PA), The Arc of Chester County (PA), and The Arc of Pennsylvania.  Kathy also provided consultant services to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Department of Health and Welfare, focused on families raising children with disabilities.
 
Most recently, Kathy served as the Administrator of Community Partnerships for Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services where she managed programs that link county government to a wide range of non-profit organizations.  
 
Kathy has been an advocate for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families for over three decades. She and her husband Phil are the parents of two sons; one of whom has intellectual and developmental disabilities and lives in a home of his own in Columbia, MD.

Lori Scott, Public Policy Fellow
 
Lori Scott has extensive knowledge in special education advocacy work in Maryland and is the mother of a 15-year-old daughter with developmental disabilities. Lori has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and a Master's Degree in Health Administration.  

Lori works as a consultant for nonpublic schools and facilities around the country. 

She believes people with disabilities should be included in all activities and she works tirelessly to advocate for the full inclusion of all people. She is excited to be a part of the public policy team during the 2018 legislative session.

Grace Pushparany Williams, Public Policy and Special Initiatives Fellow


Grace Pushparany Williams has been advocating for the past 20 years as a parent and a professional for people with disabilities and special healthcare needs.  

Most recently, Grace has worked as the Senior Program Manager for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and Family Involvement for Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and as the Health Care Coordinator for Family Voices and Family to Family Health Information Center at The Parents' Place of Maryland.  

She serves on the Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee and Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration's Quality Advisory Council and Transition Advisory Team.  

Grace has been a member of The Arc family for 22 years and has served on the boards of The Arc of Prince George's County and The Arc of Maryland.  She continues to serve as a volunteer for The Arc and other organizations for Disabilities, Special Health Care Needs and Human Rights Organizations.  

As a human rights activist, Grace strongly believes that disability rights are human rights and advocating for this noble cause has become second nature to her.
calendarSave the Date for The Arc Maryland's Calendar Day
 
Join The Arc Maryland for Calendar Day at The Maryland General Assembly on January 11, 2018. This is an amazing chance to meet legislators and advocate for disability rights.  Director of Public Policy, Tonia Ferguson will start the day with a training session entitled "Getting to Yes - Supporting Your Advocacy with Stories and Data"  for those who want to dust off their advocacy skills or those new to the advocacy effort. Please rsvp to Lisa King at lking@thearcmd.org if you are interested in attending this free training from 10-11 am. 

The calendar distribution to our representatives will kick off at 11 a.m! 
platform2018 Public Policy Platform Released
The Arc Maryland has released our 2018 Public Policy Platform. During the 2018 Legislative Session, our top priority areas will be funding for community programs, the waiting lists, better coordination of transitioning youth services, education, employment, childrens' services, civil rights, and law enforcement and justice reform. You can find the full text of our approved platform here
futurevidsThe Arc Center for Future Planning Releases New Videos
The Arc National's Center for Future Planning recently released new videos depicting how others have planned for their futures. 

The videos cover topics such as planning for housing, understanding and accessing public benefits, ABLE accounts, building a career, and maintaining good relationships. 

Check out the videos here.  
Pricedout
The Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force have recently released an update to their biennial report " Priced Out: The Housing Affordability Crisis for People with Disabilities ." This report examines the nationwide housing affordability crisis experienced by people with disabilities. 

According to the report:  In 2016 in Maryland, a person with a disability received SSI benefits equal to $733 per month. Statewide, this income was equal to 14.0% of the area median income. A person with a disability receiving SSI would have to pay 149% of their monthly income to rent an efficiency unit and 167% of their monthly income for a one-bedroom unit.

Within Maryland's federally-defined housing market areas, the cost of a one-bedroom rental unit ranged from a low of 81% of SSI payments in the Cumberland* housing market area to a high of 206% in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria* housing market area.
*view the Maryland Report  here
 
Visit the Technical Assistance Collaborative  web site to view the national report here.
parenttrainingParent Training Resources
The Arc Maryland will soon be launching new programs to train, connect and empower parents of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In January, we'll launch a Parent to Parent program. The Arc Maryland statewide Parent to Parent (P2P) program is a free and confidential service designed to connect parents and caregivers of children with special needs (age birth to 21) with trained volunteer mentors who have experience raising children with disabilities. Learn more about the program here. We are also creating a running calendar that lists events and training opportunities hosted by The Arc's local chapters to provide family members with useful training and information. Check out what we have compiled so far, here
TogetherWBTogether We're Better! 2017-2018 Campaign


The Arc Maryland, in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Maryland Department of Disabilities is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 "Together We're Better" Inclusive Education Campaign and Artwork Contest.  The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of the value and importance of unity, inclusion, and to promote awareness of disabilities.

To read more about the initiative and check out the "inclusion toolkit", click here . You may also download your artwork submission form here!

Artwork submissions are being accepted through January 20th. First, Second, and Third Prizes will be awarded to students and schools with winning submissions!
cmsCMS Approves both the Family Supports and Community Supports Waivers in Maryland
On November 21st, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration's Family Supports Waiver application. The Family Supports Waiver will provide services to children and young adults under the age of 21 who are on the waiting list for services. Check out this infographic for information on the Family Supports Waiver. 

The Community Supports Waiver was also approved on December 7th.  For more information, click here!
donate
Donate to The Arc Maryland


Tis the season for The Arc Maryland's Annual Giving campaign. Celebrate with The Arc Maryland by donating today!

Your donation will help support our efforts to empower advocates and to promote and protect the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The Arc is on the front lines to ensure that people with I/DD and their families have the support and services they need to be fully engaged in their communities.  We want to thank all of our partners for their support today and the whole year through .  Happy Holidays! 
rateDDA Releases Rate Setting Study FAQ and Additional Responses
During the 2014 Legislative Session, the Maryland Legislature tasked the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) with developing and implementing a new funding system for the distribution of federal and state funds to community-based service providers.

The DDA contracted with  Johnston, Villegas-Grubbs and Associates (JVGA) to facilitate the rate study with input from stakeholders. After approximately 2 years of work, JVGA released its report and following the release, held regional town hall meetings where stakeholders provided additional input and asked additional questions regarding the results of the study and the methodologies employed.    

The DDA released a FAQ to address questions initially received that you may access  here. As additional questions and comments were received by the DDA after the issuance of the FAQs, the following   Responses to Rate Study Questions document was created and released more recently.

Please contact Ande Kolp at The Arc Maryland with any additional comments or concerns you would like us to investigate, or submit your comments/concerns directly to DDA at  RateStudyInfo.DDA@maryland.gov
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Save the Date for The Arc Maryland's Annual State Convention and Awards Luncheon:  Unity
 
The Arc Maryland is excited to announce the date and location for The Arc Maryland's 2018 State Convention. 

Please save the date and join us on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City! 

More information will be out in January on our website and facebook, so keep an eye out for the lastest news! 

Con
taskforceTask Force and Work Group Reports Submitted
 
On May 25, 2017, Governor Hogan approved Senate Bill 786, establishing a Task Force to study the prevalence and circumstances surrounding the use of restraints and seclusion in schools.  The Task Force was directed to report its findings and recommendations to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly by October 2017. That report may be found here.

House Bill 516 charged the Maryland State Department of Education to convene a workgroup to analyze the number and proportion of eligible 4 year-olds currently enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, and to submit recommendations for improved program capacity, quality and universal access of pre-k programs for all eligible 4 year-olds in Maryland. That report may be found here.

The Arc Maryland will work with our partners in response to these findings and the need for future action on these important topics.
STD
Upcoming Events
The content for upcoming events comes from our member chapter organizations.  For more information, please visit their websites!
Snowflake Ball
Presented by The Arc Central Chesapeake Region
January 20, 2018; 6 PM 
Continuing a tradition of fun, food, music, and merriment The Arc Central Chesapeake Region's Snowflake Ball will be January 20th from 6pm to 10pm at Michael's Eighth Avenue. More information to follow but if you have any questions, please contact Susan Weisgerber at sweisgerber@thearcccr.org
Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature
Presented by The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition
February 22, 2018; 8 AM
The 2018 DD Day will be held on February 22 from 8 until 11 am at the Annapolis Loews Hotel. Join hundreds of fellow advocates, families, and colleagues to learn about bills that may affect you and make your voice heard! The day will begin with a briefing on top 2018 legislative and budget issues that impact the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. More information will be released in January along with the registration link. 
After d'Arc Gala License to Give
Presented by The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
April 007, 2018
Join The Arc Nothern Chesapeake Region for their annual After d'Arc Gala on April 007, 2018. This year's theme is "License to Give."  The event is sure to be exciting with its James Bond theme! For more information, check out the event website here