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Hot Topics (April – June 2019)

By Carol Meredith, Executive Director

Carol Meredith

The Colorado Legislature ended their work early in May, and we continued to monitor bills that were passed to see if they were signed by Governor Polis.  This is a very busy time of year for educational advocacy as a lot of IEPs tend to be scheduled during this period.  Also, students, teachers and parents are tired of the grind and we see more discipline related issues after Spring Break. 

Public Policy

Staff at The Arc AD continued to work on several stakeholder groups at the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (Medicaid) to ensure that the voices of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families were included in public policy development. Here is a list of recent activity:

  • The new assessment tool is currently being piloted and will eventually replace the ULTC 100.2 and the Supports Intensity Scale.
  • Staff continued to work on redesigning the two adult I/DD waivers (SLS and Comp) into one waiver.
  • Staff attended the Douglas County Mental Health Initiative.
  • Staff attended the Autism Legal Conference.
  • Staff met with Jason Crow regarding healthcare.
  • The Arc supported ADAPT and CCDC on Senate Bill 238 – increasing wages for some direct service professionals.

Advocacy

Did you know that 75% of our resources are allocated to assist children and adults with I/DD, and their families to receive individualized support from our chapter of The Arc?

Here are a few trends and topics of discussion among advocates:

  • We hosted an Office of Civil Rights mediation meeting at our office for a student that needed home-bound instruction.
  • Due to behaviors, we helped several students and their families through the Manifestation Hearing process.  Most of the cases were determined to be a manifestation of the disability, not just kids being bad. 
  • An advocacy case that we had been working on for seven months finally concluded with the adult getting the skilled medical care they needed due to complex medical, mental health and cognitive issues.
  • The system is very complicated, and our focus has been helping individuals and their families understand how to navigate Social Security, Medicaid, Medicaid waivers, Special Education law, employment and housing.

Workshops and Training

  • Step Up into Life After High School has become a very popular workshop, and for good reason. Just when you thought you understood the school system, now you have to learn how to navigate the adult system. 
  • Building Blocks is for families who are new to Colorado or have young children with disabilities and need to understand the systems of care.  We talk about Individualized Education Programs, Medicaid, Medicaid waivers and person-centered planning.
  • The Arc ADventures in Learning – Community Safety, Special Relationships, and Friendships are important for all of us, so we want to make sure that self-advocates have every opportunity to develop safe and meaningful relationships.
  • The Arc ADventures in Leadership meets monthly and is an opportunity for self-advocates to develop leadership skills and give back to the community.

We want to hear from you!  The Arc Arapahoe and Douglas exists to make your lives better and more meaningful.  Please send an email with YOUR ideas to [email protected]

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