Development of the National Policy Agenda
UCP has a rich history of building and participating in coalitions and collaborating with other organizations in pursuit of national public policy goals. Working together, we lead efforts in convincing policymakers of the vast unmet needs of our constituents and in mobilizing people with disabilities, their families, and our chapters and affiliates as active players in national public policy. We are a member of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). CCD is a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of more than 100 national organizations representing consumers, family members, providers, professionals, and other advocates.
Shaping Public Policy
At UCP we base our public policy views on the understanding that our constituents are full citizens and full participants in a democratic society. We work to shape a state/federal partnership that provides benefits, supports, and services for our shared constituency All people with disabilities have the right to advocate for themselves at all levels of government. The vast majority of our constituents have the right to vote.
Our system of government was set up to give states substantial responsibility for the health, education, and well-being of our constituents. Historically, state and local governments have been unable to adequately meet the needs of our constituents.
For the past few years, our nation’s economic crisis has forced most states to eliminate or scale back services and supports, sometimes returning to outdated and restrictive service models, for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The ongoing shift of some federal responsibilities and funding to state and local governments is further exacerbating the crisis. The unmet needs of many of our constituents and their families have grown to dangerous levels. Despite emergency funding being made available to the states, too many people with developmental disabilities remain un-served, are under-served, or have had their supports diminished or eliminated.
Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of people with developmental disabilities wait, often for many years, for funding for services and supports that will enable them to live, thrive, and contribute to their communities. This is unfair to people with disabilities and to American families. Countless others have either not sought services, are in states that do not maintain waiting lists for services, or have given up seeking assistance. UCP will continue to advocate for public policies that address their needs.
A divided Congress, poor economy, escalating Federal deficit, fiscal crises in nearly every state, and other pressures will test the Obama Administration and the Congress. Continued partisanship will make solving these ongoing dilemmas difficult. In many cases, the future of the disability safety net will be placed at risk. UCP will, as always, work in a bipartisan manner to protect vital services and supports for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Monitoring Laws and Policies
UCP closely follows how laws and policies are carried out so that our constituency is appropriately served. This includes influencing any changes in regulations as well as how the federal government implements, monitors, and enforces relevant federal programs. The ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, and Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, P.L. 111-152) will continue to be closely scrutinized, particularly any efforts to delay, repeal, or defund its implementation.