Friday, December 22, 2017

Unfinished Business and a Small Favor!

When I last wrote, I promised a more complete readout on the December 8 Supporting Families event.  In the meantime, though, I wanted to let you know the latest on the Disability Services Reform Amendment Act of 2017 (B22-0154), which I covered in my last post.  The Human Services Committee unanimously voted to send it on to the full council, where it will receive its so-called “first reading” – the first step before full passage – on January 9.  Now is the time to let your council member know that you favor the bill!

As for the Supporting Families Community of Practice - I was there only in the afternoon, but Emily Price already has posted all the materials from the meeting on the DDS website, at  She also plans to make the next meeting (on March 9) available remotely by Webex for those who can’t attend. There were important presentations on the new Cultural and Linguistic Competency Community of Practice, the OSSE "report card," and other issues, so I hope you'll look at all of those.

During the afternoon session, Erin Leveton made a presentation on accomplishments during the first five years of the SF CoP.  This group has had a real impact, not least of all in reaching a broad cross-section of families in D.C.:  Erin reported that from an initial mailing list of only 50 people, the SF CoP now reaches close to 1000 people in one way or another.  She also gave a presentation on changes to the I/DD waiver that were recently approved by CMS.  (If you don’t know what these acronyms stand for, see my page on Acronyms and Organizations.  Also, Power Points for both her presentations are at the link above.)

Andy Reese showed up during lunch to talk with the group.  He took a great many questions on the recent reorganization of DDS, and we learned:

-          Maximum effort has gone into providing shared services for both DDA and RSA.  Particularly on the Quality Assurance front, RSA was in need of an upgrade, and establishment of the Quality Management Administration under Jared Morris is intended to help with that.

-          I informed Andy that some have expressed concern about that the exodus of people with specialized expertise, particularly in Incident Management.  He expressed confidence that those departures will not affect the quality of services and oversight by DDS, and Winslow Woodland, now acting deputy for DDA, also joined the meeting briefly to underscore this.

-          The DDA intake process has been improved so that it takes less time and starts by identifying the needs of the person and their family up front.  (This is undoubtedly a customer-service improvement but does not change eligibility requirements for the waiver, based primarily on an IQ score of 69 or below before age 18.)  People interested in paid work receive assistance in getting started with their RSA application as well.

-          I mentioned my hope that Andy would restore the word “State” to the name of the Office of Policy Planning and Innovation (see “Changes Surely Afoot,“ November 9), and I understand he has agreed to do so.

With respect to the realignment, the Family Support Council met on December 21, and their next public meeting, on January 25, will be attended by senior DDS officials and will focus on this subject.  Daisy Brown, who chairs the FSC, wants to ensure that the FSC continues to track DDS progress following the reorganization, and she plans regular briefings at this and future FSC meetings.  Although no one asked in the December 8 meeting when DDS would be recruiting for the RSA deputy position that was vacated by Pamela Downing-Hosten, I’m told that the position is filled or very close to being filled.  I’ll let you know when I learn the name, but this is excellent news.

That’s the update, now for the favor!  I’ve been writing this blog for over three years now, and during that period I hope you’ve come to rely on it for information and advice about what’s happening and where you can make a difference for D.C. citizens with developmental disabilities in D.C.  I regularly come across new folks who are faithful readers, and I thank all of you for letting me know you find my blog useful.  In this holiday season, though, I’m asking you to give me a gift – feedback!  What would you like to see more of here?  Are there changes that would make it more interesting or helpful to you?  Use the Comments or just tell me what you have on your mind.  And pass the word along – not everyone can make it to meetings, and I worry about those who are too busy – with paid work, caregiving, and so many other demands – to make their voices heard. 

Thanks in advance for your reactions, and Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, best of the holiday season to one and all - 


  1. Thanks Carol for doing these posts. I think it would be helpful if you posted your blog posts to Facebook as well since many people use that instead of email to stay up to date. It also might encourage others to post content as well (unless you don't want that).

  2. Thanks, Vijay, for this feedback, and Happy New Year. Does anyone else have a view about this?


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