Today is one of those good days. Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated the positive news from the State House’s Conference Committee led by Chairs Jeffrey Sanchez and Karen Spilka. The conferees gave us the highest funding possible from the two versions of the budget released earlier this session. At 7:57 pm last night, Mike Moore’s office gave us word that the Senate had passed Nicky’s Law – a registry bill which will prevent staff who have abused adults in the Dept. of Developmental Services (DDS) program or service to work in another DDS setting.
The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates the release of the Massachusetts Conference Committee Budget. We are grateful to the members of the Conference Committee who not only recognized the importance of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Family Support and Day and Employment Services, but also funded the higher numbers in the line items for Transportation and the Autism Children’s Waiver. In each DDS line item included in conference, the committee funded the higher amount.
On Saturday morning, July 14, The Arc of Massachusetts Executive Director Leo Sarkissian appeared on WBZ / CBS Boston’s 4 Your Community with anchor Anaridis Rodriguez. In this interview, Leo discusses the ongoing national efforts behind the REV UP campaign, as well as The Arc of Massachusetts’ own campaign, #TheArcVotes!
- Nationally, the spotlight on food stamps continues, as the House once again attempts to reduce SNAP. The program, through states, helps people with disabilities and families who don’t have enough food.
- Statewide, we have over $5 million in services at stake as the Conference Committee debates the final budget. These resources directly affect people’s ability to obtain employment, family supports, and adult family/foster care.
- MassHealth changes are also in process and coming soon.
The Arc has tried to help people directly (through advocacy) and indirectly (through information) to address the massive change affecting 1,178,906 people through the introduction of private health plans for obtaining MassHealth funded health care. Active plan choosers – individuals who evaluated which plan may be the right fit for them – totaled near 20%. What worries us, therefore, is the number of people who were automatically enrolled into plans and may have to find new specialists for their chronic conditions.
More than 200,000 adults and children in Massachusetts have an intellectual or developmental disability such as autism. Each family has its own story. It often tells of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and grandparents who are trying to do what is best for their loved ones. They face daunting challenges and doubts about how to help their family members live healthy, safe, fulfilling lives.