Meeting with Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

We know how important Medicaid policies are for you. Here in D.C. we are doing our part to continually insert ourselves into these discussions on behalf of individuals with disabilities, their families and those that provide care and services. Recently, UCP attended a talk with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) regarding the threat posed to Medicaid in the current political environment.

Here is a summary of the meeting, along with key takeaways. The primary topic of discussion from CBPP that posed the biggest threat was the sectioning of Medicaid funding to states, primarily in the form of Per Capita Caps and Block Grants.  Amongst the various alterations in the budgetary sector of Medicaid, are Block Grants and Per Capita Cap, both of which section off the funding to states. While both have their varying adverse factors, the common ground lies in the fact that the implementation of such monetary action depletes the protection that the disability community receives through Medicaid.

We appreciate the varying level of background and impact of this issue for our network, but we wanted to provide this as a resource to use as you see fit.  If you have additional questions please reach out.

What is the difference between a Block Grant and a Per Capita Cap?

  • Block Grants are given to the state in one lump sum
    • States allocate where the money will go
    • States also have to make up the difference after federally allotted money is used
  • Per Capita Caps are fixed
    • Capped funds from the governments issued to states per beneficiary of Medicaid
    • There is an anticipated larger gap between funding and spending due to the increase of technological advancement

What is the problem at hand?

Block grants are one of the least accountable of measures to “reform” Medicaid.  It has an inability to adjust to varying economic conditions; it can be cut easily and it’s bias towards, or against, certain beneficiary groups puts it at a position of being severely harmful to the disability community.

Per Capita Caps have been a part of the Republican Task Force in regards to Medicaid Reform. Seen as the lesser of two evils, the attention surrounding this initiative has given it undue positive light in attempt to downplay the negative repercussions that the implementation of such will have on those with disabilities who benefit from Medicaid.

If implemented, Per Capita Caps will limit the budgetary liberty per beneficiary. Through its supposed flexible nature, the fluctuation of this cap will cause altercation amongst the beneficiary groups and the state governments. Seen as bipartisan, and a better alternative to Block Grants, Per Capita Caps inevitably moved conversation away from the stride that Medicaid innovation has made.

In terms of Republican Task Force strategy, many Democratic Governors and Senators have signed on for Per Capita Caps, seeing, again, that it may be considered to be the lesser of two evils. This supposed bipartisan act will decrease the amount of funding per state per beneficiary, therefore increasing the cost as time goes through due to a variety of external factors, i.e., disease, pharmaceutical drug innovation, accessible technology, as these costs will not be picked up by Per Capita Cap.

What does this mean for the disability community?

As mentioned, it is evident that the disability population under Medicaid will not be protected in the event that Per Capita Caps are implemented, due to the fact that there have been vast strides in the innovative technology surrounding assistance for those who have disabilities. As per the act, these costs will not be picked up by Per Capita Cap, meaning that any new innovation will be subject to budgetary restrictions and will only be available with additional cost.  

This is all concerning and individuals with disabilities may no longer be entitled to health care or to long term services and supports under a block grant.  Combined with a fixed amount of severely reduced funding, states could be forced to cut eligibility, benefits, and provider payments. People with disabilities stand to lose access to physicians, medications, therapies, medical equipment, and many other crucial products and services. Worse, states could go back to institutionalizing people with disabilities to save money since they would no longer have to meet the quality standards currently imposed by the Medicaid program for nursing homes or community based services.  

A per capita cap would make this problem [of the struggle that patients go through to get the necessary budgets to have accessible care] worse by limiting the federal role in Medicaid and shifting more of the program’s costs onto states, providers, and patients. Cuts to provider payments, elimination of benefits and reductions in access to care are virtually unavoidable under this type of proposal.

It seems that if Medicaid budget cuts do go underway, that many of the services that allow for individuals with disabilities to have liberties, will disintegrate, therefore forcing certain individuals to refer back to institutions to obtain services that were otherwise integrated within the community. In a way, this repercussion contradicts the Olmstead Act from 1999, which worked to remove economic influences from forcing individuals into institutions. By cutting Medicaid budget, and by proxy, its services, individuals that work in the community and live at home face the threat of losing a large portion of their own budget on medical care, forcing them out of their homes and back into institutions.

What can we do next?

We continue to watch and monitor the development of programs around Medicaid Block Grants and Per Capita Caps.  We need to look at both of these as threats to the current Medicaid system and not as one being a solution that is be is imperative that there should be a conversation shift in the way that the media portrays this endeavor. Instead of looking at Per Capita Cap as the lesser of two evils, it is important to take into account what this means specifically for the disability community and what this means for the future of technology and pharmaceutical advancements. State officials should be informed of the true bearing of cost that they will be burdened with, and they should be prepared to hear of the lack of protection that it will provide to beneficiaries.

Keeping everyone who is affected by the funding changes in Medicaid updated is imperative, seeing as it is one of the issues that will affect life on a day to day basis for individuals with disabilities. We wish to drive programs and legislations that will allow for a higher standard of health care. We not only wish to expand upon the knowledge that our affiliates hold on Medicaid and other health care issues, but also wish to understand how each individual is impacted by these issues and work towards significant policy change.

UCP Celebrates the 17th Anniversary of The Olmstead Decision

 

The Olmstead Act began in Georgia, where two women, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, saw constant segregation due to their intellectual disabilities. Their frequent trips to state mental hospitals brought attention to the fact that community support and personal choice for individuals with disabilities was lackluster, almost nonexistent. After being represented by an attorney at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Lois, and later Elaine, saw her position for removal of institutional bias being taken up to the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration.

It was found under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), that discrimination against an individual with disabilities was illegal, and that the behavior portrayed towards both Curtis and Wilson held both legal and moral conflict.

 

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Under the Olmstead Act, The Court stated that individuals with disabilities have rights that are inclusive of:

  • Prohibition in the segregation of individuals with disabilities in community living
  • The ability to receive services in integrated environments
    • Services received may be appropriate to individual needs
  • The ability to receive community based services rather than institutionally based ones, in the event that:
    • Community placement is the appropriate course of action
    • The individual in question does not oppose to the treatment being offered
    • The individual’s placement can be accommodated in a reasonable manner

 

As a section under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Olmstead Act follows the anti-discriminatory nature that the ADA set many years ago. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which celebrates its 26th signing anniversary, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in a number of areas that include transportation, employment, government activities, and more. According to the Olmstead Act, unjustified segregation would violate Title II of the ADA, which stated that individuals with disabilities may not be discriminated against when it came to State and local government provided public services. This gave individuals with disabilities the right to chose where they were to live, instead of having economic factors coerce them into making decisions they may not otherwise wish to make. The Olmstead Act tied together the anti-discriminatory nature of the ADA by not legally binding individuals with disabilities to be institutionalized, meaning that there legally cannot be a system that will inevitable end up with a majority of the disability community in institutions.

For individuals with disabilities, these acts held the power to allow them to work in traditional office environments, live in community settings that foster independent lifestyles, receive equal opportunities when it came to a variety of traditionally implemented services, and most importantly, have the right to decide where to live, without economic or legal influences.

Here at UCP, we appreciate the previously implemented and ongoing efforts for integration, habilitation, and opportunity for expansion for those who live with disabilities. Many of our affiliates provide services that both directly and indirectly relate to the Olmstead decision. For example, most of our affiliates offer community living based services. Outlined below are a sampling of specific services that follow ideals set by the Olmstead Act.

 

 

  • Within the UCP of Central Pennsylvania lies In-Home and Community Support Programs, which offer a variety of training and support to individuals with disabilities in the realm of opportunities that allow them to participate further in the community around them. These community integration and in-home habilitation programs allow for an individual to feel as though they can be cared for and supported throughout processes in any environment that they choose. It need not have to be an institution that can provide habilitation, but rather, it can occur within the home, simultaneously alongside community support options.

 

  • Through UCP of Central Arizona, the Summer Program, as an extension of the Day Treatment and Training for Kids and Teens Program, works on even further enhancement and training of social, community, cognitive, and communication skills for kids and teens. This program focuses on the individual needs of each child, and exposes each individual to real life scenarios in preparation for community integration. This program, along with many other of it’s kind, provides services of transportation to and from the individual’s home/school, making it clear that such services, again, are not contingent upon whether or not an individual is residing at home or within an institution. Usually, habilitation skills are not necessarily provided for children outside of an institution setting, however, as can be seen from such programs, not only is the child free to reside wherever he/she may desire, but he/she may also be provided with many character building and habilitation services that otherwise would confine them to institutions.

 

In addition to skill specific programs, services such as Child Development, Respite Care, and Early Intervention are made available in a location of the individual’s choice, making it clear that community integration, and most of all, personal choice, is the priority when it comes to the creation and reformation of programs focused towards individuals with disabilities.

While disability rights and removal of bias and segregation from the disability community has seen great progress, there is much still much to be done.  On the 17th anniversary of the signing of the Olmstead Act, we at UCP wish to not only celebrate, but also take part in movements that further advocate for the rights that all individuals are entitled to.

We want to hear how the Olmstead decision has impacted your life! Share your stories using the hashtag #OlmsteadAction on social media.

Find out more information on the Administration for Community Living’s celebration of the Olmstead Anniversary here. 

UCP RELEASES NEW REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

 

UCP RELEASES NEW REPORT ON STATES SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

New format highlights states’ successes with managed care and employment initiatives

Washington, DC (May 2, 2013) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) released the 2013 Case for Inclusion today, an annual report that tracks the progress of community living standards for Americans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).

The 2013 report, in addition to data from all previous reports since 2006, is available on UCP’s website using a robust new web module and design at http://www.ucp.org/the-case-for-inclusion/2013/.

Each state and the District of Columbia (DC) is analyzed and ranked based on five key outcome areas: promoting independence, tracking quality and safety, keeping families together, promoting productivity, and reaching those in need. Since 2006, these rankings enable families, advocates, the media and policymakers to fully understand each state’s progress or lack of improvement, and help to protect programs and services against unwise funding cuts, as well as guide future reforms to promote inclusion and enhance the quality of life for these, and ultimately all, Americans.

This year’s report highlights the progress that has been made, including:

·      38 states now meet the 80/80 Community standard, a dramatic increase from just 14 states in the 2007 report.

·      As of 2011, 13 states have no state institutions to seclude those with ID/DD. 10 states have only one institution each.

·      Since 1960, 209 of 354 state institutions have been closed, leaving just 149 remaining.

·      21 states now meet the 80% Home-like Setting standard (80% in settings with 1-3 residents).  This is up from just 17 states in the 2007 report.

·      34 states participate in the National Core Indicators, an increase from 24 in the 2007 report. 

·      15 states were supporting a large share of families through family support, up from just 10 states in the 2007 report.

The report also identifies problems, such as:

·      All states still have room for improvement, but some states have consistently remained at the bottom since 2007, Arkansas (#50), Illinois (#48), Mississippi (#51) and Texas (#49).

·      Just ten states have at least one-third (33%) of individuals in competitive employment. This is a downturn from 2007, when 17 states met this standard.

·      Waiting lists for residential and community services are high and have grown from 138,000 people in 2007 to 268,000. At this level, a growth of 44 percent would be needed to meet the need for services. 

New in the 2013 Case for Inclusion is highlights of three case studies—two that examine trends in managed care for those with ID/DD with reforms in Kansas and Massachusetts, and one outlining the success of Washington State in promoting competitive employment through its Employment First policy and practices.

Kansas:

·      KanCare represents one of the most aggressive and comprehensive Medicaid reforms affecting those with ID/DD, directly integrating work, health and community; broadening the scope of benefits; and prioritizing competitive employment and improving health outcomes.

·      As of January 1, 2014, individuals with ID/DD will be able to chose from the three private plans currently offered to Medicaid enrollees, all of which fully integrate medical and behavioral health benefits and home and community-based services.

·      KanCare will focus on specific outcomes to determine success, including: increased competitive employment; improved life expectancy; integration of physical health, behavioral health and home and community based services; and improved health.

Massachusetts:

·      The first state to implement a statewide pilot program (called a demonstration) for all dually eligible individuals, including those with ID/DD, Massachusetts aims to improve coordination of care, actual health outcomes, and overall quality of life for Americans with developmental disabilities.

·      Individuals with ID/DD will have new benefits available through the ICO plans, including restorative dental services, expanded personal care assistance, and greater access to durable medical equipment, and the program defines its success on actual outcomes.

·      Although the actual outcomes tracked have yet to be determined, some of the possible measures to be included include access, person-centered care, integration of services and enrollee outcomes.

Washington:

·      Washington State’s Employment First policy supports employment and day program funds targeted for working-age adults and ensures that after nine months of employment services the individual may choose community access programs.

·      By focusing its efforts on this narrow window of time, Washington’s leaders and advocates addressed the difficult goal of finding a job directly through leadership, training and innovation, and clearly defined goals.

·      The impact of this was profound: in seven years, the number of individuals competitively employed rose from 4,440 in 2004 (before the policy) to 5,562 by 2011.

“The Case for Inclusion is a valuable tool for United Cerebral Palsy and advocates across the country to use as we work to advance the civil rights protections and public policies that help support individuals living with disabilities, ensuring fair and full citizenship for all Americans. This year’s report shows in great detail the states are able to provide services and supports that result in better outcomes for people with disabilities, as well as three case studies that can serve as road maps to success,” said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “It is our hope that the Case for Inclusion can be used to strengthen the efforts of states and advocates to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities.”

Using the interactive website, users can:

·      Compare state & national data. 

·      View state scorecards. 

·      Interact with the ranking map. 

·      See highlights of the 2013 report, the top and bottom 10 states, most improved states and those with biggest drops, and facts about the best performing states. 

·      Learn how to use the report to advocate for areas needing improvement in states, and promote achievements that maintain high quality outcomes, like eliminating waiting lists and closing large institutions. 

·      View in-depth information about each of the states feature in the case studies: Massachusetts, Kansas and Washington State. 

·      Users can pull individual state outcomes and measures, track each state’s performance over time, and compare states among one another and to the U.S. average. The Case for Inclusion data, tables and graphs are exportable and printable as needed for personal and professional use.

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About United Cerebral Palsy

 

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org. 

Sequestration and its Effects on Special Populations

Overview

On March 1, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB will sequester approximately $85 billion in Fiscal Year 2013 spending as mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011.

OMB recently calculated that sequestration will require an annual reduction of roughly 5 percent for nondefense programs and roughly 8 percent for defense programs. However, given that these cuts must be achieved over only seven months instead of 12, the effective percentage reductions will be approximately 9 percent for nondefense programs and 13 percent for defense programs. These large and arbitrary cuts will have severe impacts across the government.

This overview on sequestration and its effects on special populations includes information related to: Medicaid, Social Security, and CHIP programs; Medicare; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Education and Special education (IDEA); the Head Start Program; and Housing.

National Implications

Medicaid, Social Security, and CHIP: While Medicaid, Social Security, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are exempt from the talks, most other health programs will be affected.

While Social Security payments are not affected, sequestration would force the Social Security Administration (SSA) to furlough most of their workforce, causing SSA offices to close earlier or permanently. Beneficiaries who visit these offices or call the 1-800 number will most likely have to wait longer for services. The furlough would also impact the ability of disability claims, retirement claims, and disability hearings to be processed.

Medicare: The sequester includes a two percent cut to Medicare, as well as much larger cuts to federal healthcare agencies. The Medicare cut is big — $11 billion just this year, according to the White House budget office. These cuts will affect those who receive Medicare, including Dual Eligible’s (those who receive both Medicare and Medicaid).

This would also result in billions of dollars in lost revenues to Medicare doctors, hospitals, and other providers, who will only be reimbursed at 98 cents on the dollar for their services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Sequestration would reduce access to behavioral healthcare. If sequestration takes effect, up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated. This would likely lead to increased hospitalizations, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness for these individuals.

In addition, close to 8,900 homeless persons with serious mental illness would not get outreach, treatment, housing, and support they need through the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. Admissions to inpatient facilities for people in need of critical addiction services could be reduced by 109,000, and almost 91,000 fewer people could receive substance abuse treatment services.

Education and Special education (IDEA):

Title I: Title I education funds would be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools, cutting support for nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students. This funding reduction would put the jobs of approximately 10,000 teachers and aides at risk. Students would lose access to individual instruction, afterschool programs, and other interventions that help close achievement gaps.

Special Education (IDEA): Cuts to special education funding would eliminate Federal support for more than 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and support to preschool and school-aged students with disabilities.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 70,000 children, reducing access to critical early education. Community and faith based organizations, small businesses, local governments, and school systems would have to lay off over 14,000 teachers, teacher assistants, and other staff.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Under sequestration, HUD would not renew about 125,000 Tenant Based Rental Assistance vouchers (Section 8). This would affect over 300,000 individuals across the country. Half of Section 8 households have children, 40 percent are disabled, and 20 percent are elderly.

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY RESPONDS TO FISCAL CLIFF VOTE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY RESPONDS TO FISCAL CLIFF VOTE

Washington, DC (January 2, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) issued the following statement in response to the passage by Congress of legislation to avert the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ of tax increases and spending cuts.

“We applaud Congress’s action to prevent harmful tax increases and cuts to vital services and supports for millions of Americans. The deal passed by Congress protects Social Security benefits and Medicaid— but most importantly, the individuals and their families who depend on these safety net programs, and particularly those living with disabilities.

“However, we are very disappointed that the CLASS Act, which offered a framework for funding long-term services and supports, was repealed in the ‘fiscal cliff’ legislation. We are hopeful that the replacement Commission that was created in its place will be successful in helping our country to address these critical issues.

“United Cerebral Palsy urges Congress and President Obama to continue to work together to ensure that the programs and services that help so many Americans with disabilities and their families are protected in our ongoing budget debates.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE DISABILITY ISSUES A PRIORITY

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MAKE DISABILITY ISSUES A PRIORITY

Washington, DC (November 7, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama winning the presidential election.

“We are pleased to have reached the end of this campaign, and congratulate President Obama. While there are many topics to be addressed in the next four years, we urge President Obama to work towards achieving real progress on issues that have an impact on Americans with disabilities. Particularly in critical areas such as accessibility, civil rights, education, Medicaid, employment and health care, there are serious concerns to be addressed— and we urge President Obama to make them a priority,” said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “There are more than 57 million people in this country living with a disability today. We are a strong, diverse community and we look forward to working with President Obama as we continue our efforts to ensure that people with disabilities can live their lives to the fullest.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org. 

UCP APPLAUDS NATIONAL FORUM ON DISABILITY ISSUES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175, krichards@ucp.org

UCP APPLAUDS NATIONAL FORUM ON DISABILITY ISSUES

 

Obama and Romney campaigns send representatives to speak to Americans living with disabilities

 

Washington, DC (September 28, 2012) – More than 500 people attended the only national event for the presidential campaigns on disability issues with more than 1,000 people watching online, reported United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), one of the more than 80 sponsors of the National Forum on Disability Issues, hosted in Columbus, OH today.

The non-partisan forum featured President Barack Obama’s campaign surrogate Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., a disability rights advocate and son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and former Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign surrogate U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Also participating in the forum on behalf of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was Ohio State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), and Senator Brown’s opponent, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Each participant presented the policy positions of the respective campaigns and responded to questions posed by the moderator, Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. Many of the questions were submitted by the disability community, and focused on employment, health care, long-term care, education, and housing issues.  

“United Cerebral Palsy is very excited to be a part of the National Forum on Disability Issues, which has helped engage the presidential campaigns on issues that are critical to the disability community. With more than 57 million Americans living with disabilities today, people with disabilities are not a ‘minority’ constituency but a real and powerful voice in the electoral process,” said Stephen Bennett, President & CEO of UCP. “While we are disappointed that President Obama and Governor Romney were not able to participate, we applaud all of those who contributed to today’s success and look forward to continuing to work together in advocating for the public policies that ensure fair and full citizenship for people with disabilities.” 

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP WELCOMES NEW POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND ADVOCATE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kaelan Richards: 202-973-7175,

UCP WELCOMES NEW POLITICAL STRATEGIST AND ADVOCATE

Swenson assumes role as Director, Political Leadership and Strategy 

Washington, DC (June 4, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), an international service provider and advocate for children and adults with a spectrum of disabilities, has appointed Will Swenson as Director, Political Leadership and Strategy, effective May 29, 2012. Swenson will report to Connie Garner, Executive Vice President of Public Policy, and Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP.

Swenson joins UCP after six years in the office of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he played a key role in Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 650 mayors across the country dedicated to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Working with mayors, law enforcement, gun violence survivors and family members, the coalition has built a strong and effective new grassroots force in the gun violence prevention movement. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics, Swenson brings considerable experience and insight to UCP and its growing public policy team.

“I am very pleased to welcome Will to United Cerebral Palsy and I look forward to working with him to further develop our public policy and strategic initiatives,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP. “Will’s expertise as a grassroots organizer will help to strengthen UCP’s voice and role as a national advocate for people living with disabilities. His work in developing Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition into a national force for change was outstanding, and we are excited for Will to apply his talents here at UCP.”

Swenson will work closely with UCP’s public policy team to help build consensus and momentum among policymakers, advocates and the disability community to achieve full citizenship for Americans living with disabilities.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Will Swenson to UCP. He is a great addition to our team and will help to strengthen our efforts to ensure that people living with disabilities have a voice in the critical public policy decisions that shape their lives,” said Connie Garner, Executive Vice President of Public Policy. “Will’s expertise and experience will help to move UCP forward in its mission to help make this country a place where public policy always reflects the priorities of people living with disabilities.”

“UCP is recognized as a leader in the disability community, and I am proud to be joining such a strong and dedicated team,” said Swenson. “UCP, together with their network of affiliates and partners, has helped shape the policies that make a difference in the lives of people living with disabilities and their families for over sixty years, and I look forward to continuing UCP’s work in new and innovative ways.”

# # #

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

UCP APPLAUDS PRINCIPLES ON RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: 
Kalean Richards: 202-973-77175,  

 

UCP APPLAUDS PRINCIPLES ON RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION


Department of Education issued principles document to help educators, parents and stakeholders shape policies

Washington, DC (May 15, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) congratulates the Department of Education and the Obama Administration for taking a proactive stand on protecting our nation’s students by highlighting the use of positive behavioral supports in schools.

Achieving a safe learning environment that is free from abuse should be the objective of every school, and the Department’s 15 principles issued in today’s guiding document are a step forward in reaching that goal. As noted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), there is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the problem behaviors that cause these techniques to be utilized. Furthermore, there have been cases of alleged abuse, including deaths, related to the use of restraint or seclusion of children in public and private schools.

“I applaud the Department of Education and the Obama Administration for issuing this document, which will act as a guide for teachers, parents, and policymakers on behavioral interventions in schools. By using these 15 principles to determine school policies and actions, the use of restraint and seclusion in our schools will be carefully regulated and hopefully eliminated. As the GAO points out, these techniques are not only ineffective in preventing negative behaviors, but can lead to tragic consequences when used inappropriately,” said Stephen Bennett, UCP President and Chief Executive Officer.  “These principles are important for all our students, not just students living with disabilities. Every student should be able to learn and grow in a safe environment, and be given the opportunities they need to reach their fullest potential.”

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About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

Department of Education Releases Guidelines on Restraint and Seclusion

In a press release today, the US Department of Education released guidelines that schools should follow to enure the safe and carefully considered use of this controversial practice in dealing with children with behavioral problems.

As noted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), there is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the problem behaviors that cause these techniques to be utilized. Furthermore, there have been cases of alleged abuse, including deaths, related to the use of restraint or seclusion of children in public and private schools.

Read the full resource document from the Department of Education.

Read the UCP Press Release about the new guidelines.