In This Issue:
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CalendarDay Legislative Calendar Day
January 10
 
Chapters of The Arc across the state will spend tomorrow morning in Annapolis for our Annual Calendar Day at the Legislature.  Every year, Calendar Day connects advocates from our state and local Chapters with their representatives and provides an opportunity for both to share priorities for the legislative session.  This year, our Legislative Birthday Calendar stories and pictures are centered around our theme of "opportunity".   The word, opportunity (noun) is defined as "a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something."

The Arc Maryland executive director, Ande Kolp, said "Our 2019 Calendar theme, "opportunity" seems especially appropriate this year.   As The Arc, we collectively support more than 25% of Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive DDA services and support and countless other children, adults and parents are connected to us through our programs and initiatives, events, newsletters, and other supports.  As a powerful grassroots organization and movement that provides people with the opportunities they deserve in life, we look forward to 2019 and the opportunities the new year will present as well as opportunities we will provide to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

We encourage our Governor and the members of the General Assembly to recognize the unique opportunity they have as well this session.  They are positioned to create the "set of circumstances that makes it possible" for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live the lives they choose, for Direct Support Professionals to earn a living wage, and for providers in the network of our service system to not only survive, but thrive through appropriate funding and policies that make sense."

We hope you will join us in Annapolis.  Click here to register.

DDDayDevelopmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature
February 13

Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature is an opportunity to advance our grassroots movement for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD).

At DD Day, you will receive briefings on some of the more critical topics in disability policy this session, then you'll go to the House and Senate Office buildings to meet with your elected officials and their staff to share information, your experiences and tell your story.

DD Day is a very popular event and we sell out every year! Registration will close on February 4th or sooner if we reach capacity prior to that date.

If you have any questions, please email  Luc Chausse  at lchausse@thearcmd.org or call (410) 571-9320.


ASL and Spanish Interpretation will be provided for those who indicate a need for these services on the registration form. An accessible changing room will also be available upon request.
Register for DD Day Here
LegKickoff2019 Legislative Session Kicks Off

The Maryland Legislative Session kicks off today with the swearing in of 60 new lawmakers in the 188 member General Assembly. There are 43 new members in the House of Delegates, and 17 new Senators.  Click this link to read more about the freshman class of the Maryland General Assembly.


In preparation for Session 2019, the Governmental Affairs Committee of The Arc Maryland has worked over the past few months to develop our 2019 Public Policy Platform. This platform includes our priorities and goals as we work together to improve conditions in Maryland. To download our 2019 Public Policy Platform brochure, click HERE.

Please keep these important dates in your calendar:

January 9- First Day of Maryland Legislative Session

January 10- Calendar Day (also Advocacy 101 training for those who are new to advocacy or want a refresher)

January 18- Governor's proposed FY20 budget is due

February 13- DD Day at the Legislature presented by the DD Coalition

February 25- DDA Budget hearing in the House *
Health and Social Services Subcommittee, 3:00 PM House Office Building Room 150

March 4- DDA Budget decision in the House *
Health and Social Services Subcommittee, 3:00 PM House Office Building Room 150

March 7-DDA budget hearing in the Senate *
Health and Human Services Subcommittee, 1 :00 PM Miller Senate Building, William Amos Room, 4th Floor

March 11- DDA budget decision in the Senate *
Health and Human Services Subcommittee, 1 :00 PM Miller Senate Building, William Amos Room, 4th Floor

March 18- "Cross-over" date

April 9- Last Day of Session (Sine Die)

*date/time/room subject to change at the discretion of the MGA committee leadership

Our active Governmental Affairs Committee holds weekly calls during session and we publish a weekly resource known as the Annapolis Insider. The "Insider" contains updates to various bills by topic, links to bills we are following, hearing dates and times, outcomes of efforts, and calls to action. If you would like to join The Arc Maryland's Governmental Affairs Committee, please contact Bea Rodgers, GAC Chair at  Rodgersbea9@gmail.com.

If you would like to receive the Annapolis Insider electronic newsletter, please contact Luc Chausse at lchausse@thearcmd.org or by phone at (410) 571-9320.
KirwanKirwan Commission Update

The work of the Commission for Innovation and Excellence in Education, or Kirwan Commission, will continue into 2019 after legislative leaders said it had become "virtually impossible" for the panel to settle one of its chief tasks - rewriting the state's education funding formulas - in time for consideration at the 2019 General Assembly session.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. announced a five-year proposal for $1.6 billion in new school construction funding that would pull money from the Education Trust Fund, the same pot of money the Kirwan Commission is eyeing for its funding plan. The commission's recommendations come with a preliminary cost estimate of $3.8 billion in the 10th year of full phase-in.

The commission voted to ask the General Assembly to mandate a minimum amount of funding for its recommendations, $750 million, for the 2021 fiscal year. With the money set aside, the commission would recommend a funding formula for lawmakers before the start of the 2020 General Assembly session, which would establish the funding proportions for the state and local governments.

Short term funding priorities include: expanding full day pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds, increasing special education funding, initiating teacher salary increases, providing concentrated poverty grants, beginning tutoring programs and funding seed grants for teacher growth programs.

In a 1/4/19 Baltimore Sun article Gov. Hogan called the Kirwan Commission's delay in reaching agreement on funding formulas "frustrating." He said he's waiting to see the commission's findings before deciding what to do next.

"They have some good ideas in Kirwan, but we have never seen the proposed formulas or the proposed funding mechanisms for any of it," the governor told The Sun. "It was more of a broad-brush, aspiration, 'We'd love to do this major thing or we'd love to do that.' But how we're going to pay for it - it never came out."

As for Sen. Busch's suggestion to use revenue from legalized sports betting, Hogan said he's open to the idea. "There probably will be a way to work out a solution on sports gambling," Hogan said.

The full commission is expected to debate the recommendations and vote in the fall of 2019. We need new schools and renovations but not at the cost of more effective instruction. These must go hand in hand so funding both is essential!
 
To read more on this issue, please follow these links:
PrioritiesDirect Support Professionals: A 2019 Legislative Priority

As the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session begins, we, The Arc Maryland, renew our strong request that the issue of Direct Support Professionals (DSP) for those accessing DDA services be immediately addressed.
A DSP is a person who assists an individual with a disability to lead a self-directed life and contribute to the community, assists with activities of daily living if needed, and encourages attitudes and behaviors that enhance community inclusion. A DSP may provide supports to a person with a disability at home, work, school, church, and other community places. A DSP also acts as an advocate for the  individual with disabilities, in communicating their needs, self-expression and goals.

As we create communities where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities  live and work, we need to ensure the health and safety of each person. DSPs are vital to our community supports! 

The Developmental Disabilities Administration is transforming the system for supports for people accessing services by rapidly increasing the self-directed services option under the Medicaid Waiver. The self-directed services option establishes the person who is funded as the Employer of Record and as such, recruiting, training and retaining DSPs becomes their responsibility. 

In 2016, a report from The Council on Quality and Leadership's Staff Subsidy Survey points to Maryland's full time DSP vacancy rate as 8.1%, and part time is 17.3% of all positions available. Not only are traditional providers of support, like the 10 chapters of The Arc in Maryland, experiencing a shortage of DSPs but those 1000 people who are the Employers of Record are competing for DSPs in the same local labor markets. We hear and read story after story of families struggling to meet the needs of their family members 24/7 because of the inability to recruit, train and retain DSPs. The fragile system for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities will soon collapse without focused attention and funding to address this issue.

Why now is the time to address this issue? Research cited on the National Association of Direct Support Professionals' website points to the fact that DSPs are part of the fastest growing occupation in the country. The role of direct support professionals is likened to a lynchpin and direct link to quality of supports and community life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. DSPs are providing supports that require complex skills in multi-disciplinary domains and sound decision-making ability and are rooted in a code of professional ethics.

This Legislative Session, the issue of raising the minimum wage will be considered again. An important step in recruiting and retaining DSPs is to pay them an hourly rate that reflects the importance, mental and physical stamina, medical knowledge and compassion that they bring to their work each hour, each day. In a January 4, 2019 Baltimore Sun article, Senator Miller intimated that the Senate would pass an increase in the minimum wage, perhaps setting different amounts in different geographic areas.

"It's going to happen," Miller said of a minimum wage hike, declining to provide additional details. "We're going to pass something this year."

If and when the state minimum wage is increased, and if a regional differentiation of wages is included, two things must be effectively addressed;

First, increases in funding for Developmental Disabilities community supports must be linked to any legislation that increases the minimum wage.
Second, any regional differentiation of wages must also be addressed through adjustments in base DDA funding by region or jurisdiction. As the Maryland minimum wage has increased over time in Maryland, the funding formula in DD Community supports rates for Direct Support Professionals (caregivers)  has not kept pace.

In 2006, the wage was such that it attracted college graduates and those who sought to make this field their career.  In 2019, the rates are so low compared to the current minimum wage that it is difficult to compete with the fast food industry for labor, and nearly impossible to attract a workforce with education and training required to undertake this important role.

We encourage the Governor in his budget and the Legislature in their deliberations to carefully consider and address the affects that years of under-funding and increased demands have placed on our system of community supports. We must develop solutions now to correct to trends of a shrinking caregiver force while we work to meet expanding needs as people with disabilities and their family members age. We often talk about infrastructure needs and funds in relation to roads and buildings, but what about the infrastructure of a person's daily living? The health and safety of many Marylanders depends on action now. 

To read more about legislative previews, please follow these links:
PlanningNowPlanning Now: A Future and Estate Planning Guide for Families of Children and Adults with Disabilities - updated edition is now available

Planning Now
 is a resource developed by the Developmental Disabilities Council
 for people with disabilities and their families.  It is a comprehensive, easy to use futures and estate planning guide for families of children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Topics covered include financial and healthcare benefits, wills, trusts, tax considerations, financial planning, and others.  

The DD Council has a limited number of hard copies available by contacting info@md-council.org or (410) 767-3670.  Click here to complete a quick survey and then download an electronic copy of the resource . Please note that a version in Spanish is coming soon.

MieleMeet the New Deputy of the Maryland State Department of Disabilities, Christian Miele

Former Delegate Christian Miele of Baltimore County, who lost a close race for the state Senate this past November, was appointed by the Hogan administration to be the new Deputy Secretary for the Department of Disabilities. His appointment is effective today, January 9, 2019.

Deputy Secretary Miele was welcomed by the Secreta ry of the Department of Disabilities, Carol Be atty, who is quoted as saying, "His experience in health, behavioral health and public safety policy, as well as employment policy and workforce development has prepared him well for serving Marylanders with disabilities." (Baltimore Sun, Jan. 3). Deputy Secretary Miele expressed to the Sun that he will draw on his experience of having a close relative with disabilities as he assumes his new role.

The Arc Maryland welcomes the incoming Deputy Secretary and we express gratitude for the opportunity we have had over the years to work with the previous Deputy Secretary, Bill Frank. Mr. Frank has moved to a position with the state Department of Budget and Management.

ChapEventsLocal Chapter Events

The content for local chapter events comes from our member chapter organizations. For more information, please visit their websites!
The Arc Central Chesapeake Region
Cup of Caring
January 10, 15, 17 & 22

The Arc Central Chesapeake will be offering monthly coffee talks in each county they support including Anne Arundel County and Maryland's Eastern Shore. The series will be facilitated by The Arc Family Engagement and Navigation Coordinator. Caregivers and interested community members will have a chance to ask questions, to learn and to share information about resources for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities and enjoy a free cup of coffee together.  All family members are welcome.

Cup of Caring takes place from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at various coffee shops across the region. For full dates and locations see their website. For more information regarding the series, email Linda Prochaska at lprochaska@thearcccr.org.

The Arc Southern Maryland
Tri-County Job Fair
January 15

Looking for a job? The Arc Southern Maryland is participating in a job fair for St. Mary's, Charles and Calvert County. Come learn about the variety of positions available at The Arc Southern Maryland. You can also discover opportunities to get paid med tech, first aid and CPR training, tuition reimbursement, or even get paid while you sleep. All this and more on Tuesday, January 15 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM at The Arc Southern Maryland.
 
Walk-ins are welcome, but save time by scheduling now! Schedule your appointment at the job fair with Danielle Lee by phone at (410) 535-2413 ext. 122 or by email at dlee@arcsomd.org. You can also  read more on their website.
The Arc Baltimore
Education Series: Advocacy 101 & Maryland's General Assembly
January 23

T he Arc Baltimore features educational seminars to help people's understanding of v arious topics regarding people with I/DD across the entire lifespan. This month's seminar is on Advocacy 101 and Maryland's General Assembly. Participants will learn strategies and techniques of being an effective advocate and priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The series will take place on January 23, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at The Arc Baltimore at Seton Business Park, 6151 Metro Drive, Baltimore.

RSVP is required, so please fill out the RSVP form and return to Swanisha Hinton at
shinton@thearcbaltimore.org  if interested!

The Arc Montgomery County
STAND Together Self Advocacy
January 24

Adults with and without d isabilities, at any point in their lifelong journey, come together to learn about current issues, participate in advocacy, and support each other as they strive for independence and inclusion. With the STAND Together Self Advocacy Group, you can share concerns, upcoming activities, legislation which may impact your rights and services, and more.

The next monthly STAND Together meeting is on Thursday, January 24 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Saint Mark Preabyterian Church, 10701 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda.

For more information, check out STAND Together's Flyer or contact Adriana VanDunk by email at STAND@arcmontmd.org, or by phone at (301) 984-5777 ext. 3535.

The Arc Prince George's County
Brunch Bunch
January 24

Brunch Bunch is a series of presentations that address topics and issues that self-advocates, family and caregivers encounter. This brunch's topic is 10 Things You Can Do To Secure Your Financial Future. Brunch Bunch is free to Arc PG members and $10 for all others. Light brunch related items will be available during the sessions. This month, the presentation is on Thursday, January 24 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Holy Family Church in the Heritage Room, 12010 Woodmore Road, Mitchellville. Register for the event here

The Arc Howard County
22nd Annual Chocolate Ball
March 2

Come and dance the night away! The Chocolate ball is The Arc Howard  County's signature event and their biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds support their mission of achieving full community life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Howard County.  This black tie preferred gala features flowing champagne, chocolate from the area's best bakers, an elegant menu, entertainment, unique Silent auction packages, and dancing throughout the night with music from Oracle Band. This Ball is a great time for a great cause!

For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Events and Marketing  Manager, Barbara Moyer at bmoyer@archoward.org or (410) 730-0638 ext. 306. The Arc Howard County is also in need of donations for this event! The 22nd Annual Chocolate Ball will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from 7:00 PM to midnight at Turf Valley Resort. See the invitation here .

The Arc Frederick County:
Charlotte's Coffee House
Every Wednesday through Friday

The Arc Frederick County's in-house cafe is open every Wednesday through Friday in October from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. All products are made in facility by people with developmental disabilities at Marcia's Bakery Training Program. Follow The Arc Frederick County on Facebook for their weekly menus!