In November 2013, the Massachusetts “Blueprint for Success” was released. The plan changed day and employment services for our constituents served by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The state moved away from sheltered work and segregated settings to more individualized employment and community-based day support for those who weren’t going to be able to work full-time independently or with intermittent assistance.
- Because of the lack of dentists who serve adults with disabilities (intellectual, developmental, autism, etc.); we hear stories about long delays in dental care which result in emergency room visits and extractions.
- Because even fewer dentists are available for those on MassHealth – imagine the impact not only on our constituents but on all families who rely on MassHealth dental coverage for their children and themselves.
- Because prevention and ongoing monitoring are neglected.
- Because it’s so bad that the state has a contract with Tufts Dental Clinic (thank you, Tufts!) to address the needs of thousands of our constituents. We may always need that additional support, but it will never be adequate to meet the needs of all our constituents, who should have local options regardless.
This is a national problem – see this 2016 NPR story. Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs, has been working with the Pew Foundation, Senator Harriette Chandler, and others to pass S. 1169. This bill would develop a new category of dental therapists who would be quasi-independent under general supervision. The bill also requires their training to include working with our constituents. The Arc moved that clause forward.
It was a beautiful day for celebrating the opening of The Arc of Massachusetts new statewide headquarters. More than 80 donors, family, and friends, as well as representatives of our chapters and human service agencies, joined us to cut the ceremonial ribbon and celebrate the milestone. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy spoke about the impact that The Arc has had locally and across the state. After the speaking program and ribbon cutting, guests were invited in for tours and refreshments.
Herb Cabral and Julie Heffernan join Kerry Mahoney in kicking off the Advocacy Alliance. The purpose is to build long term capacity for advocacy at both the state and local levels. The Arc Affiliates and other partners will identify leadership teams consisting of a family member, staff and a self-advocate.
We are looking for your input regarding nearly $1 million in grants from the Becker Family Trust. Last April, in conjunction with the Becker Center for Advocacy, trustees announced Innovation/Direct Impact grants to be distributed over two to three years. Our site here focuses on the Center’s advocacy and the trustees’ grants program.