November 22, 2019: The Capitol Connector View in browser

November 22, 2019


In This Issue:

  • Issue Spotlight - Inclusive Child Care 
  • Invite Sen. Klobuchar to the “Elected for Inclusion” Forum! 
  • Updates from Washington, D.C. 
  • Mark Your Calendars
  • Noteworthy News & Resources
Issue Spotlight
Inclusive Child Care

It may seem hard to believe, but the 2020 legislative session is just a few months away - starting on Tuesday, February 11! Our public policy team has been hard at work over the summer and fall to identify issues impacting Minnesotans with disabilities and their family members statewide. We want to make sure that our public policy priorities for the 2020 session focus on solutions to promote human and civil rights, advance equity, and support true belonging in community.

Between now and the start of session, each issue of The Capitol Connector will highlight an item to be included in our legislative agenda. We’re calling it our “Issue Spotlight”. Today’s focus is inclusive child care.

Across Minnesota, parents of children with disabilities and medical complexities are struggling to access consistent, high-quality, accessible child care.

We have heard from parents whose children have been discharged from child care following a disability diagnosis (even though they were being supported in the same setting beforehand), those who were denied services because the child’s support needs were too intensive, and many other experiences that families face.

Our community must work to build understanding - and establish an expectation - that children with disabilities can and should access child care services in integrated settings alongside their siblings and peers.

We must also close the gap in the continuum of services and supports for children with disabilities to reduce the strain on informal and formal support networks, particularly for children whose disability or diagnosis requires more intensive medical interventions.

That’s why The Arc Minnesota is partnering with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid - the Minnesota Disability Law Center and Legal Services Advocacy Project - to advance a proposal during this upcoming legislative session that would create grants for child care providers to establish or expand inclusive child care options.

Child care providers could use the grant funds for training, administrative support, environmental modifications, and much more, while creating a mechanism for children to share more specialized services - such as homecare nursing or personal care assistance - in inclusive settings.

We believe this inclusive child care model will alleviate constraints on the homecare workforce shortage, allow parents or family members to work (or rest!) during the day, and afford children with disabilities the opportunity to access child care alongside their siblings and neuro-typical peers – resulting in long-term, positive developmental benefits for all children, and building true belonging in community from an early age.

To help parent advocates get engaged in the effort to advance this proposal, share stories, and stay informed during session, we’ve created a Facebook group - “Inclusive Child Care for Children with Disabilities in Minnesota”. You can join the group at www.facebook.com/groups/Inclusive.Child.Care

If you have a story to share and/or would like to be part of future stakeholder groups/community conversations about this issue, contact our Legislative Advocacy Intern, Luke Vannurden, at advocacyintern@arcminnesota.org.

Invite Sen. Klobuchar to the “Elected for Inclusion” Forum!

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and REV UP Texas are proud to announce Elected for Inclusion, a national nonpartisan Presidential forum on issues impacting the disability community. The forum will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Convention Center in Austin, Texas in advance of Super Tuesday and the November 2020 elections.

You can help get candidates to participate by emailing Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Presidential Campaign at info@amyklobuchar.com with the message:

“Please participate in the Elected for Inclusion Presidential Candidate Forum on January 13, 2020 in Austin, Texas sponsored by AAPD and REV UP TX. In 2020, over 35 million eligible voters will be people with disabilities. The number of 'disability voters' increases to over 62 million when we consider the ripple effect of the disability vote that connects families, friends, advocates, educators, providers, and other individuals that interact with people with disabilities. This is an opportunity for candidates to hear from people with disabilities about the issues important to them. I urge your participation in this Forum.”

The goal is to get lots of disability advocates in her home state to contact Sen. Klobuchar. Hopefully, with your help, she’ll agree to participate in the forum, so thank you in advance for doing this outreach!

Updates from Washington, D.C.
From our friends at the Association of University Centers on Disability:

USDA Proposed SNAP rule change

SNAP plays a key role in reducing hunger and helping people with disabilities to maximize their health and participate in our communities. We know that all too often food insecurity and disability go together. The proposed rule would:

  • Change the deduction for utility payments and cut benefits for people with high utility costs.
  • Cut benefits for 19 percent of people on SNAP.
  • Cause 8,000 people to lose SNAP benefits entirely.

The proposed rule would cut $4.5 billion in SNAP benefits and disproportionately impact people with disabilities.

There is still time to stop this rule. Fill in your information here and you will be brought to a page with draft comments that you can personalize and submit directly to USDA.

ABLE Age Adjustment Act

For the past 5 years, ABLE accounts have helped people with disabilities across the country save money without risking access to their home and community-based services and other supports they need to live in their communities. Unfortunately, millions of people with disabilities aren't eligible for ABLE accounts because they did not acquire their disability before age 26.

Take Action Now: Taking action can be easy and quick! Use this script to call your Members of Congress and ask them to support people with disabilities and their families by cosponsoring the bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 817/ HR 1874).

Social Security

On October 30, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2019 (S.2753). The bill would update and enhance the SSI program by adjusting income limits upward, something Congress has not done in many years. In addition, the SSI Restoration Act would repeal SSI's in-kind support and maintenance provisions as well as penalties for resource transfers, marriage, and state tax credits.

Department of Education

Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett recently left the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The new Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner, Mark Schultz, has taken over as acting assistant secretary. With this change in leadership, members of the disability community drafted a public letter addressing concerns about competitive integrated employment regulations in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and opposing any considerations of opening the regulations at this time. AUCD signed on to this letter.

Mark Your Calendars
Webinar Announcement

Collaborating for employment - DHS and DEED Partnership

Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019, 10am-11am

Join representatives from DHS and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for an overview of upcoming efforts to align our services. They are looking to connect with individuals who use home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver programs, as well as the families and caregivers that support them.

More information about the Webinar can be found at https://bit.ly/339OPJF

Noteworthy News & Resources

Noteworthy News & Resources

From National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools:

“Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools in 2015-2016: Secondary Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection”

From Pioneer Press:

“MN DHS under scrutiny for treatment of employees with disabilities”

From MPR:

“Commission struggle in early going to find health and human services savings”

“Walz administration uses report to highlight work on children’s issues”

“Longtime state Sen. Dick Cohen of St. Paul says he won’t seek reelection”

“State Rep. Diane Loeffler of Minneapolis dies at age 66”*

*A note on the death of Rep. Diane Loeffler:

  • Throughout her time in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Diane Loeffler was a powerful champion for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her leadership helped correct the discriminatory Medical Assistance spenddown policy, secure investments in sexual violence prevention, and promote the vision of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. The trust and respect that members had for Rep. Loeffler crossed party lines, and her passing is a loss for the entire legislature - as well as for our disability community. During a tough time last session, she affirmed for me that, “everyone else can compromise their mission, but an advocate cannot”. I will never forget those words of encouragement and conviction, and will carry them with me for the rest of my career. Rep. Loeffler will be greatly missed, but greatly remembered.

Thank you to our sponsor Mains'l for their support of our public policy work

www.mainsl.com


Join The Arc’s Disability Policy Networking Group to stay engaged on policy issues by requesting membership here. 


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The Arc Minnesota

2446 University Ave. W. Suite 110, St. Paul
Minnesota 55114-1740 United States

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