Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Mayor's Budget Funds DDS for Eligibility Reform

In a blog post earlier this month (, I celebrated the DC council’s final passage of B24-0268, the Developmental Disability Eligibility Reform Amendment Act.  It’s now been transmitted to the mayor and is awaiting her signature (

But Mayor Bowser already has signaled her intent, by including $500,000 in funding for DDS in her proposed FY2023 budget, under “Health and Human Services” here:  This money is intended to support new intake staff and training so that DDS can be ready to implement eligibility reform effective October 1.  (Some of the new staff will come on board before the end of this fiscal year, which ends on September 30.)  That signature still is important though!  After she signs, the Congress will have its opportunity to review the bill, as they always do (, but it’s highly unlikely this bill would attract any negative attention from national legislators. 

So SPREAD THE WORD!  Advocates will be creating opportunities over the coming months to ensure people across the city are aware of this historic legislation and the change it will bring.  

DDS director Reese has indicated on several occasions that DDS will be contacting anyone who was turned down for DDA supports over the past three years to encourage them to re-apply.  In the Committee on Human Services hearing yesterday on the proposed DDS budget (beginning around the start of the second hour, 2:00:00, at, he indicated that nearly 100 slots are going unused in the traditional I/DD waiver (1923 available, 1826 utilized), with another 55 slots available (5 used out of 60) in the IFS waiver.  He also noted that 50 additional slots are normally added each year, with the distribution between the IFS and IDD waivers yet to be determined. 

One serious budget issue that remains is that the administration is proposing a 3-year phase-in instead of an immediate increase in DSP salaries, which will continue to put pressure on DDS providers’ recruitment efforts – hear DC Coalition ( director Ian Paregol starting around minute 1:25:00 of, and stick around to hear other advocates on that panel.  You’ll note that in my own testimony at around 1:40:00, in addition to noting passage and funding of the DDERAA, I called attention to the need for more robust efforts in favor of customized employment in this, the tenth year of DC’s participation as an Employment First state (see

A few other noteworthy events:

-          “Worlds Imagined” events for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM) continue tonight:  Contact Charlisa Payne ( or Alison Whyte ( to make sure you get the links for remaining events.  The DDS link shown here also has recordings of some previous DDAM events from earlier this month.

-        You’ll note that one of the events shown is Quality Trust’s “Better Together” Zoom gathering on Thursday at 5:30 – you have one more day to buy your ticket at if you want to participate in the painting!  No doubt Quality Trust’s new CEO, Shawn Ullman, will also be on hand!

-         This Friday, March 25, will be the last of DDS’s routine weekly community calls.  Starting in April, these calls will occur monthly on the fourth Friday of each month.  (A planning team will be meeting on the second Friday of each month.)

As always, if you wonder about any of the organizations or acronyms I use in my blog, please take a look at my (new and improved!) blog page “DC Disability-related Organizations and Terminology” (, which you can find over in the righthand panel of my blog.  If you don’t see something there that you’re wondering about, or if you think something needs updating, please let me know!

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Making Employment First a Reality

Today I’d like to focus people’s attention on employment.  For the sake of my own son and others who can benefit from a determined and creative approach to job development and support, I’m increasingly pivoting toward this essential advocacy focus.  We’re told that conditions are good for people seeking work now – so we need to seize on this opportunity for people with disabilities who are looking for jobs.  Now’s the time, and I hope you’ll join me in making this a reality here in our community.

As I noted in my first blog post of the year (, 2022 is the tenth anniversary of DC’s designation as an “Employment First” state ( TOMORROW, March 9 at 3:00, as part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Kevin Wright, currently on the staff of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council (, will talk about his own experience as a young person with a learning disability pursuing employment, and will then lead a panel discussion on ways to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in the DC community:

This event will be doubly informative because Kevin ( is himself leading the charge on behalf of the DD council toward an Employment Summit that is scheduled to take place in OctoberEmployment has been identified as one of the key goals of the DC DD council’s 2022-2026 state plan, which can be found here:  The focus of Employment First is competitive, integrated, and customized employment for people with disabilities, and this summit is intended to gather all essential stakeholders to assess where we’ve seen progress over the past ten years, while also identifying the challenges ahead and developing strategies to bring more people with disabilities into the DC workforce, both public and private.

If you’re reading this, then I know you have a viewpoint on how the DC community is doing in terms of integrating people with developmental and other disabilities into the workforce.  There’s a working group that’s already beginning to put together the building blocks to make sure the October summit has maximum impact, and if you’d like to be a part of the planning please reach out to Kevin:  But first, tune in Wednesday at 3:00 -

Tuesday, March 1, 2022



Well, my friends, this is my 200th blog post, and that’s appropriate because there’s big news:

Today in its legislative meeting, the DC council held its second vote on the Developmental Disability Eligibility Reform Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0268) and THE VOTE WAS AGAIN UNANIMOUS! 

We’ve done it!  YOU’VE done it!  We’ve pushed it over the goalpost!  And with the support of Committee on Human Services chair Brianne Nadeau ( and her colleagues on the DC council, the bill is on its way to the mayor -

After over a decade of effort, the DC council has agreed that DDA’s doors should be open to people with developmental disabilities who need the supports, not only to those with an intellectual disability.  We’ve made history today, and our community will be the better for it!  LIFT UP A CHEER!