Many individuals with disabilities must worry about the “disability cliff” when they age out of school. This cliff refers to the loss of structure and coordination of services that students are entitled to in the education systems; instead individuals are expected to navigate an often-confusing delivery system to receive services with little assistance during the transition. One of the key issues is difficulty finding meaningful employment in the community.Read More
The MediSked Blog
The Arc of the United States, in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota have launched the 2017 Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey which seeks to capture experiences of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families on a range of life-span issues.Read More
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 26th anniversary on July 26th. While there has certainly been progress, there is undeniably more work to be done. Several weeks ago, something happened that catapulted this issue into the global spotlight.Read More
Why? Because the concerns outlined in this article are not concerns unique to Connecticut. There are four other states that have yet to follow the national trend of privatizing their advocacy offices.
It's alarming - and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agrees. They have just released a new report stating (very officially) that Connecticut's Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities is not properly structured to provide that advocacy. And that's a problem.
In Connecticut's case, the Office of Protection and Advocacy is responsible for several jobs that create a conflict of interest in regards to their advocacy mission. The example cited in this particular editorial is a building owner applying for an exception to a handicapped-accessible rule.
As you may have guessed, P&A is the agency that decides whether or not to grant a waiver. And that's just not right. As the article's author says, "P&A should not be in a position of weighing the needs of disabled people against the needs of building owners."
As an organization that has to ensure that state law is followed, the Office of Protection and Advocacy is designed to protect and advocate for the state which may sometimes prevent them from being able to truly (and unbiasedly) advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities.