News to Know 8/3/12

Published Aug. 3, 2012

News to Know 8/3/12

Articles include State adds $55.6M cushion on caseloads; Privatizing disability centers will save $6.9 million, officials say; State inquiry sought on Taser abuse against disabled; Navigating services for autistic adults can seem daunting; Some moving from institutions - State reports progress on DoJ settlement; Autism Day allows families to bond.

The information contained in these articles is for informational purposes only and should be evaluated by each recipient for content accuracy and applicability. Some articles are provided only to educate about a variety of perspectives on issues. It is not intended to represent the viewpoint of The Arc of Washington State or the Advocacy Partnership Project. Click on the link below each story to read the entire article.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
State adds $55.6M cushion on caseloads
It isn’t much, but Washington state budget writers are taking every nickel and million dollars they can get these days. This week’s quarterly caseload forecast is predicting smaller increases in many program enrollments through June 2013 – with the biggest savings coming in the Medicaid medical assistance to poor families, according to the state Office of Financial Management. Bottom line: $55.6 million in reduced costs expected through mid-2013 and a $350 million cushion against state emergencies over the next year. The “categorically needy” program in Medicaid that serves people whose low incomes or situation automatically qualifies them for medical help is now expected to have enrollments about 11,931 below the February forecast, which is what the state’s supplemental budget was based on. The result is a $29.7 million reduction in the costs assumed by the budget that passed the Legislature. Another $11.9 million is saved by having 150 fewer kids in the birth-to-prekindergarten programs and $14.4 million from having 1,423 fewer kids in K-12 schools. On the other hand, more are enrolled in economic-assistance and Medicaid programs serving the aged, blind and disabled. The net result of the caseload savings – which are offset by the $16 million reduction in revenues in the June 20 revenue forecast – is that state reserves for the budget cycle are now about $350 million, state budget director Marty Brown said.

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/06/29/2158918/state-adds-556m-cushion-on-new.html#storylink=cpy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Privatizing disability centers will save $6.9 million, officials say
BATON ROUGE -- The state Civil Service Commission has given its final approval to the privatization of two state-run centers for the developmentally disabled that the state claims will save about $6.9 million and abolish 980 job slots. Laura Brackin, an assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals' Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, said in a letter to commission Director Shannon Templet that 620 positions are being abolished at the Hammond-based North Lakes Supports and Services Center; another 360 positions are being cut from the state payroll at Northwest Supports and Services Center in Bossier City. The Hammond facility, which provides residential services to up to 229 individuals, will be operated by Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, DHH officials said. The Bossier City facility will be run by the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Louisiana. The center now provides residential services for up to 134 individuals, officials said. The Legislature approved the privatization of the two facilities at its recent session, and Civil Service Wednesday signed off on the plans that do away with classified job positions. The transition is expected to be complete by Oct. 1, according to Civil Service documents.

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/08/turning_over_state_centers_to.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
State inquiry sought on Taser abuse against disabled
A prominent advocacy group for the disabled and parents of Sonoma Developmental Center patients are calling for an outside investigation into stun gun assaults last fall against a dozen patients at the institution. The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California distributed an open letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris yesterday, asking the state Department of Justice to open its own criminal case. The abuse “reveals a sickening picture of serial torture – and the entire law enforcement system’s utter failure to protect people with disabilities from these atrocities or to prosecute the criminals who committed and helped cover up the assaults,” the letter said. The Parent Hospital Association, which represents relatives of Sonoma center patients, has also asked for a new, independent investigation of the stun gun cases.

Read more: http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/state-inquiry-sought-taser-abuse-against-disabled-17418
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Navigating services for autistic adults can seem daunting. Website Autism After 16 is creating step-by-step guidelines to help families with this process.
Roanoke, VA - Moving from childhood to adulthood with autism can be a difficult journey. While autistic children are entitled to services from the public education system, adult services aren’t always readily available. Studies show that all too often, young adults with autism and their families receive inadequate support. Autism After 16, a website focusing on adult autism issues, is developing state-by-state “Roadmaps” to help families navigate this rocky path. The Roadmaps provide step-by-step guidance with links to help families access pertinent resources in their states. Federal resources are also included. “Many families have no idea how to begin to think about adult issues,” says editor Merope Pavlides. “Although children with autism are entitled to Transition services to help them move into postsecondary education and careers, all too often that support is lackluster. We felt as if some nuts-and-bolt guidance would be helpful.” Accessible from Autism After 16’s homepage, the Roadmaps begin at age 16 and move through high school into early adulthood. Information includes how to learn about your state’s requirements for high school graduation, how to access Social Security and Medicaid supports, and how to work with your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Developmental Disabilities departments. “Most families are used to dealing with IEP teams and services that are coordinated through the school system,” notes Pavlides. “They often don’t realize that with adult services, there is no lynchpin to service coordination. Service eligibility and availability vary from agency to agency.”

Read more at http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/07/31/autism-after-16-develops-adult-service-roadmaps#jtYQXMmXZh1TxfMp.99
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some moving from institutions - State reports progress on DoJ settlement
RICHMOND — Virginia has moved several dozen of the hundreds of people living in state institutions for the disabled back to their communities, according to its first progress report on compliance with a federal civil rights settlement. By June 30, 61 people had moved out of Central Virginia and Southside training centers and into the community. Of those, 22 received Medicaid waivers — a program the state promised the U.S. Department of Justice it would expand — and 34 received slots through a related program called Money Follows the Person. The remaining people chose an intermediate care facility, which can house up to 14 people. About 983 people remain in the state’s five training centers. One training center, Southeast Virginia Training Center, will remain open because the state renovated it in 2009 to create several smaller residential settings on the same campus. After U.S. Department of Justice investigators found widespread violation of residents’ civil rights, Virginia agreed to step up efforts to find less restrictive ways to serve them. One of the main requirements in the agreement calls for the state to create 805 Medicaid waivers — the program that allows people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to waive institutional placement and instead get services in their communities.

Read more at http://www.newsleader.com/article/20120728/NEWS01/307280018/State-reports-progress-disabled-DoJ-settlement
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Autism Day allows families to bond
When Sammamish resident Lynne Banki moved to Washington in the late 1990s, she felt like she was in the “middle of nowhere.” Her son Caspian, then about 4 years old, had social and verbal skills well behind children his age – telltale signs of autism. Lynne had met other parents of autistic children in Colorado, but was suddenly on her own in a new state without much of anyone who could relate to the daily struggles of the parent of an autistic child.  “We had to start over,” Lynne said. “It was very isolating.” It was that isolation that drove Banki to start Autism Day. Now in its 12th year, the free event is something of an annual pilgrimage for autistic children and their families from around the Pacific Northwest. Located on Jubilee Farm in Carnation, the event features hayrides, games and a slip-and-slide for children, as well as more than 70 vendor booths. The event has morphed from a gathering of 40 to more than 400. Banki said the event serves as a clearing house for the sorts of services autistic children and their families end up needing. Schools and tutoring companies that specialize in helping autistic learners will have information about their services, artists will offer hands-on projects for children and local food vendors will offer an assortment of food.

Read more at http://sammamishreview.com/2012/07/30/autism-day-allows-families-to-bond
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LEGISLATIVE FORUMS/COFFEES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tri-Cities - CANCELLED
September 20, 2012 at the Pasco Red Lion 5:30 PM social time 6:00 – 8:00 PM Forum. Partner’s in the Forum: The Arc of Tri-Cities, Tri-City Residential Services, Ambitions of WA, Goodwill Industries, Columbia Industries and Benton Franklin Parent Coalition
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~