On July 11th, Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator and Acting Commissioner on Disabilities at the Administration for Community Living (ACL) spoke at the Autism Society's 2018 Convention in Washington, D.C. During her keynote speech, Ms. Lazare expressed recognition for Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) as part of the full system of care. While no recording of the speech exists, third hand accounts of Ms. Lazare's comments have spread throughout social media. "Community Only" advocates were outraged, and have raised their voices demanding retraction of her comments and calling for her resignation.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently published a draft of their Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022. The plan fails to mention ICF's or to acknowledge the specific needs of people with I/DD.
VOR has submitted point-by-point comments to each of the goals and strategies outlined in the plan.
Right To Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs/IID)
Individuals who qualify for Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs/IID)* under Medicaid have a legal right to such facilities for as long as they remain eligible and choose to do so. Despite a deinstitutionalization effort by those opposed to congregate care, the ICF/IID program remains a legally enforceable federal entitlement under Medicaid. States which have included ICF/IID in their Medicaid State Plans, but instead offer only Waiver services, are in violation of federal Medicaid law.
VOR continues to support the rights of parents, family members, and concerned individuals as legal guardians of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Joey's mother Susan tells the story of Joey's experiences in HCBS waiver settings and how the Jennings family managed to get him the care he needs at the White Haven State Center. (Joey's story was featured in the December, 2017 issue of EP - Execeptional Parent Magazine.)
By Jill Barker
My son Danny is forty years old this week. He has multiple disabilities resulting from brain damage acquired during his first few days after birth. He functions at the level of a 6 to 12 month old infant and always will. And, yes, I know he is not really an infant. We do not love him less because he lives and survives with profound developmental disabilities.
I first heard the term Inclusion around 1990. Danny was 13 years old and attending High Point School in Ann Arbor. High Point was an outstanding program for Danny, bringing together services, expertise, and a supportive community to accommodate children with the most severe disabilities, including complex medical and behavioral conditions.
Inclusion, when applied to schooling for disabled children, is the belief that all children, regardless of the severity or nature of their disabilities, can and should be educated in regular classrooms with their non-disabled peers. Inclusion was promoted by many disability advocates as a “right” for every child. Most discussions of the idea did not include an examination of whether the premise on which the belief is based is true for every child or whether it is required by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (it is not). In the face of any disagreement with the idea, promoters of inclusion encouraged families to take sides: “Are you for ‘Inclusion’ or against it?” Or as many advocates would have it, “Do you want disabled children isolated and segregated from the rest of society or do you want them to be fully integrated into and embraced by ‘the community’”? This continues to this day.