In a petition dated June 23, 2020 filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the ACLU, SEIU, and several partner groups outlined concerns with the federal response to the novel coronavirus epidemic and used these concerns to call for a 50 percent reduction in congregate care nationwide. The petitioners defined congregate care to include nursing homes, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICFs/IID), psychiatric facilities, and home and community-based services (HCBS) group homes.
On July 1st, VOR issued a firm response in opposition to ACLU and SEUI’s irresponsible and unreasonable demand which would remove all forms of long-term care for the elderly and persons with mental disabilities, except for the family home or private residence.
The Disability Integration Act (DIA) is a seriously flawed bill. While the intention of the bill is to provide services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it would eliminate existing services provided to the most severely impacted members of this population, and moving these individuals from their long-term homes into more isolated settings that provide fewer services, lower staffing ratios, and lower standards of care.
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.
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On March 6th, 2018 the House Judiciary Committee convened to examine the harmful effects of class action lawsuits aimed at closing Intermediate Care Facilites for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF's/IID). The hearing came at the request of Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
Testimony was presented by Martha Bryant, Mother, RN, BSN & VOR member, Caroline Lahrmann, Mother, VOR Ohio State Coordinator & past president, and Peter Kinzler, Father, longtime VOR Member, Director & Legislative Committee Chair. Alison Barkoff of the Center for Public Representation.
spoke on behalf of those in favor of using class action lawsuits against ICF's/IID and opposed to providing notification to families and guardians of individuals residing in these homes.
Read or download testimony of the participants:
In September, 2018 VOR sent out 2 Action Alerts, asking Congress to pause and reconsider HR 3506, the EMPOWER Act to renew the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program.
VOR continues to support the rights of parents, family members, and concerned individuals as legal guardians of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have collected some of our current and past documents here for your convenience.