Council at risk with FY2018 budget proposal
June 7, 2017
I want to share with you some important news. President Trump’s budget proposal for next year eliminates funding for the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and our sister councils across the nation. We put together the following statement for the greater community to drive home why what we do matters for Arizona. If what we do has impacted you, please contact your federal legislators and let them know. You can use GovTrack to find your congressional lawmakers.
As we have more news, we will update you all, including via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Erica McFadden, Executive Director
Last week, President Trump’s budget blueprint suggested the elimination of funding for the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities under the Administration for Community Living, beginning in 2018. These are the same Councils authorized in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 106-402) that have been in existence for more than 40 years. This blueprint demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what our Council does.
The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Council (ADDPC) is a distinct, 100 percent federally-funded, 23-member Council appointed by the Governor. We are driven by the voices of people with developmental disabilities (DD), their families, state agencies, and disability providers to advance goals of economic and community inclusion. One of our unique functions is to serve as a “disability services innovation lab” for Arizona. We receive approximately $1.4 million each year to fund new ideas and measure their impact. Our seed funding encourages innovation in the public and private sectors that ultimately reduce federal and state costs. We do this by funding projects that introduce more efficient service provision and promote self-sufficiency of individuals with DD. And by working with organizations and state agencies to incorporate successful programs into the disability system, we affirm their sustainability. We also educate the public about these programs and practices to encourage broader dissemination.
We fund 7-10 projects annually, including:
- The Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) program. Since 2011, we have helped revive, formalize, and spread the adoption of these approaches in more than 120 Arizona schools, impacting approximately 18,765 students. PBIS has reduced negative behaviors of students, reduced the number of suspensions and expulsions, and created a more supportive work environment for stretched teaching and support staff.
- The Workforce Incentive Information Network (WIIN) project, which was recently adopted by the Rehabilitation Services Administration – Vocational Rehabilitation (RSA-VR). It trained employment providers and agency staff on how to educate people with DD on Social Security benefits and work incentive programs so that they seek employment. This resulted in training of parents and almost 2,500 service professionals from the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs), and the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS). More than 700 individuals with disabilities were employed after WIIN counseling.
In addition to building innovation into our state systems, the Council, along with its small staff of five and low overhead costs, performs many valuable functions for the state:
- We collect input and data on the needs of the DD community and advise the Governor’s Office and other interested stakeholders to assist with planning and programming.
- We provide important state-level disability information not covered anywhere else, such as Arizona ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act accounts. We also funded the Arizona Center for Disability Law to create a Legal Options Manual for families facing guardianship decisions.
- We strategically partner with other agencies and organizations and leverage our resources to help overcome systemic barriers and information gaps. A few of the many issues we are tackling include:
- Opening the employment pathway to individuals with autism by learning about successful employment models in other states and replicating them here.
- Coordinating and providing training for individuals with DD, families, agency staff, and first responders to ensure people with DD are able to safely access mental health services that are appropriate for them.
Arizona is a national leader in developing and maintaining a comprehensive DD system to allow people with DD to live in their homes – less than 1 percent served by our DD agency live in institutions. But we have some work to do. Only 20 percent of Arizonans with DD are employed. And currently, there are one in 68 people diagnosed with autism and one in five diagnosed with any form of disability. The need is great for consumer-driven Councils like ours that support innovative approaches to promote the economic and community inclusion of people with disabilities. Eliminating us would eliminate progress already achieved.