The Valentine’s Day hearing before the Human Services Committee on performance by the D.C. Office on Disability Rights and the Department on Disability Services over the past year took place as scheduled, and you can see it here in full: http://dc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=4349. The DDS review was dominated by the recent passage of bill B22-0154, and self-advocates in particular turned out to express thanks to the council for its passage of the Disability Services Reform Amendment Act. There also was plenty of discussion about implementing the bill, in particular with respect to the grievance process it establishes, and DDS announced it would be working on this with the advisory group that helped with the recently-approved state transition plan and waiver amendments. DDS also will be launching, along with advocacy organizations, a process of education and outreach so people will be aware of new rights and procedures under the bill. DDS director Andy Reese’s testimony addressing this and other subjects, including the recent management reorganization, is here
and can also be viewed in the last 45 minutes of the video, along with Q and A. Here too is the testimony of Morgan Whitlatch from the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities:
Another topic which received attention in the hearing was the impact of broader D.C. workforce initiatives on the financial sustainability of human services agencies. These are the folks who hire the Direct Support Professionals providing support to D.C. citizens with disabilities, so the financial viability and livelihoods of these organizations and people are essential. Ian Paregol, director of the DC Coalition of Disability Service Providers (http://dc-coalition.org/2016/02/19/welcome) gave an excellent overview of the issues (https://tinyurl.com/y8wg5qt3), as did follow-up testimony by RCM (https://tinyurl.com/ya6v8yyu) and NCC (https://tinyurl.com/yaaw6n33), two of the Coalition’s member organizations. Nadeau announced that the council is setting up a working group to address these and other workforce issues, which also affect care for seniors in D.C.
After reading this post, if you’re inspired to express yourself, the deadline for submitting written testimony to the committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) is February 28, a week from today. Keep it short if you want, but let the council know there are folks who care about these issues as they prepare to consider the mayor’s budget for fiscal year 2019 later this spring.