Sunday, November 28, 2010

Update on the homeless shelter option in Indiana

It seems there is more substance than I thought to the charge that Indiana has a policy  that recommends homeless shelters as an option for people with developmental disabilities. According to a report from TV Channel 6 in Indianapolis, a discharge plan form is given to people who are either not eligible for services or who choose not to receive services. The form lists a Homeless Initiative Program as a resource and refers to a list of homeless shelters.

My guess is that people who "choose not to receive services" do so not because they are particularly fussy, but because the services offered make no sense for their family member or are of such poor quality that nothing is better than something. As for people who are not eligible for services, we might be surprised at the severity of the problems people have who have been rejected by the system of care for people with developmental disabilities.

A spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration acknowledges the existence of the discharge form, yet still denies that homeless shelters are offered as an option.

So the real scandal is all those things listed below, plus evidence that Indiana has a policy of offering homeless shelters to at least some families as options for their developmentally disabled family members.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Indiana homeless shelters: an option for severely disabled?

An AP article reports that parents of severely disabled children and adults in Indiana have been told to drop their family members off at homeless shelters, if they can no longer care for their children at home.

As it turns out, this is not an official state policy and there are no confirmed cases of parents actually following through with that suggestion. It appears it was more of a threat by frustrated employees of Indiana social service agencies to get parents to back off from their complaining about the unavailability of Medicaid waivers that could pay for services at home.

The real scandal is this:
  • 20,000 people are on waiting lists with some people waiting 10 years for services.
  • Governor Mitch Daniel ordered budget cuts that eliminated 2,000 Medicaid waiver slots since July.
  • Foster children with disabilities have been moved to a less costly program that doesn't provide services for special needs and they had a food benefit taken away.
Almost everyone agrees that we should help the "truly needy", but doing it and paying for it are something else altogether.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Detroit: Administration on DD to hold "listening" session

On December 2nd, 2010, the federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities is holding a "listening session" in Detroit on "Envisioning the Future". Registration is still open and the agency is encouraging families to participate.

People who are picked to speak have three minutes (with an extra 2 minutes given to "self-advocates"). You can submit written testimony at the Website, whether or not you are chosen to speak. There will also be limited room for people who just want to listen. Speakers should arrive by 8:00 a.m. Testimony lasts from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. followed by closing remarks with breaks interspersed throughout the day.

Here are some important links to information:
What is the Administration on Developmental Disabilities?

The ADD is the U.S. Government organization responsible for implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, known as the DD Act. The ADD is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The DD Act programs that are administered by ADD are the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (the Michigan DD Council), Protection and Advocacy (Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services), University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (DD Institute at Wayne State University), and Projects of National Significance.

Why is it important for the ADD to hear from you?

You and I are often represented by professional advocates who receive federal funding through the DD Act, but rarely do we have an opportunity to speak for ourselves directly to the agencies that fund the advocates. This is a chance for you to make your views known on behalf of your developmentally disabled family member.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election day and developmental disabilities

There is a very good blog post by Ed Diegel at the Wayne County DD Advocates Website.

Among his thoughts on the election and what comes afterward is this:

"No one who talks about reducing state and national entitlements (which of course is a euphemism for programs like Medicaid) links their statements to Medicaid for persons with developmental disabilities—but the threat is there. It will be our responsibility to be sure that our elected and appointed officials understand the importance and morality of programs to support persons with Developmental Disabilities.

"So let’s vote wisely, congratulate the winners and continue to deliver the message."

He goes on to summarize the most recent threats to appropriate services for our DD family members with links to documents and other information to help you understand the issues.

Happy election day!