A Blueprint for Change

Blueprint for Change Report Cover by The Arc of Indiana

Earlier this year, The Arc of Indiana embarked on a broad-based campaign to create change in Indiana’s systems for serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Starting with the creation of a Big Minds Group made up of leaders in the field, and continuing with Pathways Forums held throughout Indiana to gather input from individuals with I/DD and their families, their efforts led to the formation of the Indiana Response Team to develop goals and take action. All of those elements of the campaign have come together in The Arc of Indiana’s Blueprint for Change.

The Blueprint for Change is a thorough report which takes a fresh and sometimes hard look at current systems in Indiana then lays out a bold action plan for creating change in how individuals and families receive services. The Arc of Indiana is actively distributing this blueprint online and sending out hard copies upon request. They recently distributed copies to attendees at their annual state conference and provided additional copies to local chapters throughout the state so those chapters could lead the way in taking action in their communities. Check out the Blueprint for Change online or contact The Arc of Indiana at 1-800-382-9100 for more information.

The Arc of Indiana and Peter Berns Talk About The Arc’s New Brand

The Arc of Indiana Logo imageJust 14 days ago, The Arc launched a new brand. Many of our chapters have embraced the new look and feel, and generated lots of excitement around its official unveiling Match 1st.

Just one of those chapters is The Arc of Indiana. Be sure to check out the new look on its website, and listen to the interview Michelle Fischer did with The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns.

Berns talks about The Arc, its brand and the story behind our new look.

The Arc of Indiana Assails Budget Cuts

Indiana State Capitol Building imageWith 2011 barely a month old, advocates in Indiana reeled from incoming reports that Indiana’s budget crunch has become so severe that some state workers suggested to families that they leave their family members with disabilities at homeless shelters.

While the Indiana Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) officially said this is not the agency’s policy, parents were told this was one option when families can no longer care for children at home and have not received Medicaid waivers that pay for services that support individuals living independently.

While news reports said that “there have been no confirmed cases of families dumping severely disabled people at homeless shelters because Indiana wouldn’t provide the care needed,” advocates received conflicting reports.  Kim Dodson, Associate Executive Director of The Arc of Indiana asserted that reports had been received of state workers in several BDDS’s eight regional offices steering families to take adults with disabilities to homeless shelters.

Funding at Risk Across the Country

From coast to coast, funding for basic services is at risk and thousands will continue to be hit hard.  Advocates know more budget cuts undermine the ability of an individual to make choices about where they live, work and enjoy the freedom to live independently.  As one disability advocate said, “the bottom line is that the more budget cuts we endure, the more our civil rights are reduced.”

Waiting lists for waivers in Indiana is 10 years and The Arc of Indiana has been vigilant in addressing the needs of thousands currently on the list.  In late 2010, The Arc of Indiana kicked off its next phase of the Pathways Campaign – a collaborative effort to redefine Indiana’s system of programs and services for people with developmental disabilities.

“With waiting lists now reaching over 20,000 people,” said John Dickerson, Executive Director of The Arc of Indiana, “the wait for too many families remains too long.”  In working for systems change through the Pathways Campaign, “we remain committed to advocating for and working with the state to move as many people as possible off waiting lists each month, and to providing Medicaid waivers to those facing emergency, crisis or an end to school aged residential programs.”

Recently, Dickerson was featured in PBS’ Need to Know addressing What Happens When Care Runs Out?  With thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities sitting on waiting lists, this has reached a crisis point in communities across the country.

Image courtesy of Flickr user nicholascollins.

What Happens When Care Runs Out?

Thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have their names sitting on waiting lists across the country, hoping they can gain access to the services and support they need to live normal lives. Family members wonder what will happen when funding for services for their school-aged children runs out.

It’s a grim picture.

Watching this segment from PBS’ Need to Know will give you just a glimpse into the world of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability and their family. It’s families and individuals like those highlighted in the story that The Arc, and in this case, The Arc of Indiana helps every day.

This is why The Arc does what it does. Our more than 700 chapters across the country provide unique services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We create national initiatives – like the Walmart Foundation: School-to-Community Transition Project, which funds programs that help young adults transition from schools to community settings – to foster solutions to complicated problems.

And, as one father says in the story, “to uplift those who are not as uplifted as we are.”

The Arc of Indiana’s John Dickerson on the “Real Problem”

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that some state workers in Indiana suggested leaving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at homeless shelters if they can’t be cared for at home due to decreased funding for support services.

The Arc of Indiana’s John Dickerson on posted on his blog about the “real problem.”

He said:

No family who cares for a loved one with a developmental disability such as autism, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy should ever be told that a homeless shelter is an option.  But, punishing state employees will not address a very real problem.

The real problem is that viable options are not being made available to families due to Indiana’s revenue short fall and changes in state policy.  Families in need are facing a crisis in receiving critical services.

What can you do to help?

  • Learn a bit more about what we do.
  • If you’re in Indiana, join The Arc and contribute to the solution.
  • Or you can make a donation, and know that it will go a long way in helping create solutions to this pressing issue.