The holidays did indeed slow me down, and I realize I haven’t blogged since before Thanksgiving. Events are moving ahead so there’s much to report.
First and foremost, there’s the news that the DC council’s committee on human services will be marking up the Developmental Disability Eligibility Reform Amendment Act (B24-0268), on January 20. This marks a historic moment, as the prospect of basing eligibility for long-term supports on true need rather than outmoded IQ measures is now on the horizon. We’re very hopeful that the committee will leave the bill in substantially the same form agreed with advocates and that it will soon advance to the full council. (For more background on this bill, see https://www.ddinwdc.com/2021/06/the-train-is-moving-toward-ddequitydc.html and https://www.ddinwdc.com/2021/10/dc-residents-tomorrow-testify-on.html.)
The markup itself will not offer the chance to testify, but on February 10 the same committee will hold its annual performance review of D.C.’s Department on Disability Services (DDS). As you start preparing your testimony for that hearing, you may want to take a look at this recent report issued by Quality Trust: https://www.dcqualitytrust.org/wp-content/uploads/Looking-Back-A-Collaborative-Longitudinal-Analysis-FINAL-12-15-21.pdf. This report shows the changes in the types of people now served by DDS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration, and raises questions about whether DDA and its provider agencies are moving quickly enough to address these changes – as well as those that will come with eligibility reform if that passes the council this year.
The February 10 performance review will, of course, also cover the Rehabilitation Services Administration of DDS (DDS/RSA). This coming fall will mark the 10th anniversary of DC’s designation as an “Employment First” jurisdiction (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/employment-first), and so this is the perfect time to be examining what has changed in the past decade for employment of people with disabilities in DC, and what we can do together to make greater progress. The DD council is beginning preparations for an Employment Summit this fall to take a closer look, and if you’d like to get involved in the planning, you can contact Kevin Wright on the DDC staff: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, this new year has brought some personal transitions for me. As of December 31 I’ve rotated off the Quality Trust board after seven years, and also stepped down as chair of the Developmental Disabilities Council, although I am now co-chairing (with Ricardo Thornton) the DDC’s Advocacy and Public Policy committee. The DDC’s new chair is Anjie Shelby, who has been a member of the DDC since 2019. She now has the opportunity to put her own imprint on a DD council that recently doubled in size, with many new and imaginative members stepping up to make the DDC even more active and representative of our local community.