Thank you to our sponsors in the Senate and the House for championing The Arc’s priority legislation. Currently we are working to obtain as many cosponsors as possible. Our bill platform, featured below, includes a broad scope of legislation which addresses critical needs of our community including health care, safety, education, housing, and the workforce.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Lou Sudders held her state wide stakeholder call to review the Governor’s budget, House 1. The Arc appreciates the specific attention given to the Department of Developmental Disabilities, especially in terms of the DESE/DDS program which was funded with an additional $4 million. This additional funding will translate to many families that need meaningful supports in order to avoid out of home placements.
On Tuesday, January 22, we had a successful, standing room only event at the Grand Staircase at the State House with over 100 people in attendance. It was the third year for our Supporting Families event, which allows individuals with disabilities and their families an opportunity to be supported in their advocacy with legislators. We also invited new legislators to learn about the issues, as part of our biennial New Legislator Reception. Our champion speakers, Senator John Keenan and Representative Denise Garlick, were terrific.
The base of the Grand Staircase at the State House was filled with nearly 100 families, new and returning legislators, professionals, and self-advocates on Tuesday morning. In attendance were Rep. Denise Garlick, Sen. John Keenan, Rep. Tram Nguyen, Rep. Donald Wong, Rep. Mindy Domb, Rep. Carole Fiola, Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Nika Elugardo, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, Rep. Kathy LaNatra and Rep. Tommy Vitolo.
Alice Shea dedicated her life to helping children with Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and other developmental disabilities improve their motor development, to enhancing their lives, and to championing their inclusion in the community. As a clinician at Boston Children’s Hospital, she directly touched the lives of thousands of young patients and their families; and as a researcher and educator at Boston University and Simmons College, her impact has been, and will continue to be, felt by many thousands more. Her peers considered her a leader in the field of pediatric physical therapy.
On Monday morning, January 14, Brockton Area Arc’s Family Support Navigator Cathy Hickey, The Arc of Massachusetts Advocacy Alliance Coordinators Julie Heffernan and Herb Cabral, and ten family members – moms, dads, and a sister who was home from college on winter break – gathered at The Brockton Arc for “Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation.”