Education/Restraint and Seclusion – Civil Rights Data Collection Released
The Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education released the Civil Rights Data Collection which includes district-level and school-level data that it collected for the 2009-10 school year from nearly 7,000 school districts. The data comes from almost half of the total number of school districts and represents 85% of all students. The report includes data about school discipline and, for the first time, data about restraint and seclusion. The Department released a national-level summary of some of the data. Students with disabilities (served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504) comprise 12% of students in the sample and are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions (6% of all students compared to 13% of students covered by IDEA). Of all students who are physically restrained in schools, 70% of them are students with disabilities. The Department will post national data to its website in the future.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) released a report detailing examples of the use of restraint and seclusion in schools across the country. Read media coverage of the report.
Major Events Ahead
Transportation – Senate to Vote on Transportation Extension
The Senate is expected to continue debate this week on a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation bill. This bill would extend the highway and transit programs authorized by the surface transportation bill. The current temporary extension is set to expire March 31, 2012. The House is still trying to find a compromise over the funding levels that would garner enough support to pass a bill.
Register for Disability Policy Seminar – Early Rates Expire March 20
Make your plans to attend the 2012 Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. April 23-25 and take advantage of special early registration and hotel rates until March 20. This event is the biggest and best opportunity for advocates to advance the grassroots movement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But this year it is even more important to make your mark in Washington as we approach a pivotal presidential election in November. This unique platform offers you the opportunity to come together with other advocates, learn about the issues, and speak with your elected officials about what is important to you. This year’s seminar will include a Capitol Hill reception, for seminar attendees only, hosted by the office of the Honorable Tom Harkin, U.S. Senator from Iowa. Get the best rates and availability for the seminar at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Washington, D.C. and find out more about this year’s program at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org.
Attending the Seminar? Schedule Appointments and RSVP for Special Event ASAP
Attendees are encouraged to begin to reach out for appointments with elected officials as soon as possible – due to the frequency of Congressional recesses, time to meet in Washington with constituency groups like us is more limited than in recent years.
This year’s seminar will include a Capitol Hill reception on Tuesday, April 24, hosted by the office of the Honorable Tom Harkin, U.S. Senator from Iowa. If you have already registered for the Seminar, we need your RSVPfor this special event by April 1.
Civil Rights – Adult Abuse and Risk of Violence
A new report from Liverpool John Moores University in England analyzed 26 worldwide studies that measured the occurrence and risk of abuse for disabled adults. Of the studies conducted, 15 of the 26 disability samples came from the United States. The report concluded that adults with disabilities, totaling approximately 15% of the global population, are at greater risk of being victims of abuse and violence. Adults with a mental illness are four times more likely to be abused than non-disabled adults; adults with an intellectual impairment are one to two times more likely to be abused. To read more about this report, view it at The Huffington Post.
Social Security – Story Bank Collects Stories of Families of Children Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Coalition for Children and Families has launched a story bank for families of children who receive SSI benefits to share how the program is a lifeline for children with significant disabilities and their families. If you have a child who receives SSI, please consider sharing your story by visiting the story bank website. Stories can be shared confidentially and/or anonymously. You may also indicate if you are willing to be contacted to discuss your story further. The SSI Coalition for Children and Families is a network of over 80 organizations working to preserve the SSI children’s program. The Arc is a member of the coalition.
Direct Support Workers – House hearing on Companion Care postponed; Department of Labor extends comment period on proposed regulations
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections postponed its planned-for hearing on “Ensuring Regulations Protect Access to Affordable and Quality Companion Care,” due to the death of Representative Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), a senior member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. The Subcommittee indicates that the hearing will be rescheduled at a future date. Additionally, the Department of Labor announced that the deadline for comments on the proposed regulations has been extended by 2 weeks, to March 21, 2012.
State Department Announces Fellows Program
The State Department has announced an opportunity to work with the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights through the Franklin Fellows Program. The Department’s professionals address critical national security challenges across the globe, while working in this country with government agencies, Congress, the non-profit and private sectors and representatives of foreign governments. The Department accepts nominations from universities, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector employers for Franklin Fellows to work one to two years on issues of concern to the Department. Get more information at the State Department website. Interested candidates may contact the Special Advisor directly at HeumannJE@state.gov.
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation – Public Policy Fellowship Program 2012-2013
The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking exemplary professionals and/or family members of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are currently working or volunteering in the field of inclusive services and supports for people with I/DD for an intensive one-year Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, DC. The purpose of the Fellowship is to prepare both early career and more seasoned leaders to assume leadership in the public policy arena in their home state and/or nationally. During this one year Fellowship, the successful applicant will learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, as well as how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies.
The application deadline for 2012-2013 is March 31, 2012 by 5:00 pm EDT. The Foundation fellowship(s) will be awarded for the period July, 2012-June 30, 2013, though consideration may be given to those who wish to start later in the year or early in 2013. To read more download this PDF from The Arc’s website.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423