VOLUME 26 NUMBER 2
IN THIS ISSUE
DDA Waiting List
The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council advocates for public policy and
supportive practices and opportunities that promote the full inclusion of all people with
Developmental disabilities in community life.
Community Services Funding Increases $40M
The General Assembly supported Governor Ehrlich’s request for over $40M in funding
to expand a variety of community services for individuals with developmental disabilities
beginning July 2006. This increase in the Developmental Disabilities Administration’s
(DDA) budget is a combination of state, federal and special funds. The budget request
garnered strong support from legislators who heard from people with disabilities, parents
and other advocates throughout the state about the critical need for more community
This additional funding will enable DDA to offer services and supports to all youth
transitioning from school to work this year so they won’t have to sit home and loose
skills and their parents can continue to work. In addition, approximately 1,225
individuals on DDA’s waiting list will receive one or more services. Over 2,600 people
will receive resource coordination (inclusive of the 1,225). There is also limited funding
to offer supports to individuals and families in emergency situations.
The increase in DDA’s budget also includes funds for the last installment of a five-year
wage enhancement initiative designed to increase the salaries of direct support workers
who provide community services.
See list on next page:
DDA FY07 Budget Expansion List
(State and federal funds)
List includes: Increase in funding and Impact (EST.)
Services for people on DDA’s
$10 million-1,225 people will receive one or more services: residential,
day/employment, individual & family support, resource coordination
$7.7 million- 497 young adults leaving school will receive employment/day services
and resource coordination.
$2.7 million-84 people in emergency situations will receive one or more services
$16.2 million-Will increase the wages paid to direct support workers providing
Waiting List Equity Fund (these are “special funds” generated by
the WLEF and matched with federal funds)
$1.2 million- 40 people will receive residential services and resource coordination.
$1.8 million- Increases transportation rates paid to day and supported employment
Resource Coordination in State Residential Centers
$412,800- 320 people in SRCs will receive independent resource coordination to help
identify services needed to support them in the most integrated setting.
For more information contact the regional office of DDA in your area:
State Initiates Innovative Rental Assistance Program for Individuals
The fact that the program is cross-disability and offered in many areas of the state
makes it “very innovative” according to Ann O’Hara, a national housing expert with
the Technical Assistance Collaborative in Boston.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, in partnership with
the Department of Disabilities and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, have
implemented a Bridge Subsidy Demonstration Program. The program will provide State-
funded short-term rental assistance (up to three years) for a limited number of eligible
individuals with disabilities who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), while they await permanent housing
The program was a top recommendation of the Governor’s Commission on Housing
Policy and has been designed as a pilot to study the feasibility and impact of such a
program. The budget is $2.1 million for the three year demonstration and the goal is to
assist 75 to 100 participants. Disability advocates were actively involved in the design of
Participants will be selected by the Mental Hygiene Administration, Developmental
Disabilities Administration, specified Centers for Independent Living, and The
Coordinating Center based on program eligibility criteria. A service plan will be
developed with each participant, which they must commit to. The agencies selecting
participants will also take the lead in helping participants find appropriate housing.
Participants must agree to adhere to all program requirements, including maintaining
eligibility for permanent housing assistance (so they can transition off of the temporary
bridge subsidy), completing rental and financial management training, making timely bill
payments, and adhering to all lease requirements. Participants may not have income
greater than $10,000 annually and are required to pay 30% of their adjusted monthly
income for rent.
Bridge Subsidy rent payments will be paid through participating public housing
authorities directly to landlords. Participating public housing authorities must agree to
provide permanent housing assistance to the participant before the expiration of the
participant’s 3 year term on the Bridge Subsidy Program.
The program is being implemented in Alleghany, Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester,
Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Harford, Kent, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot (excluding City
of Easton) Wicomico, Worcester Counties, plus the City of Frederick and the City of
For additional information, email BridgeSubsidy@mdhousing.org
Advocates Strive for Additional Funding
for Infants & Toddlers Programs
During this year’s FY07 budget process, the Maryland State Department of Education
(MSDE) requested more than $6M to support significant increases in the number of
young children requiring supports and services through local Infants & Toddlers
In addition to seeking funding for these state and federally mandated programs, advocates
worked with legislators which resulted in a bill designed to remove discretionary funding
language in the State’s Education Article. The bill called for the State to fund local
programs based upon a funding formula established in 2002. This formula contributes
state dollars based on the number of children receiving services in each jurisdiction.
Currently, local governments contribute more than 64% of the necessary funds, while the
state contributes 10% and federal funds represent about 16%.
SB367/HB133 made their way through the Senate and House, but only after being
amended. Instead of mandating funding according to the established formula, the
amendments call for the state to “maintain” funding at the previous year’s level, if
sufficient dollars are not available in the state budget to increase funding for the
programs. By amending the legislation in this way, it stripped the bill of all fiscal
implications for the FY07 budget cycle. Although MSDE’s request of $6M was not
included in the FY07 budget presented to the General Assembly in January, the Governor
did include a $610,000 appropriation in a supplemental budget. These dollars will be
distributed directly to local Infants and Toddlers programs to serve children and families
eligible for early intervention services.
Housing Legislation Benefits Individuals with Disabilities
TRUST LEGISLATION PASSES
Placing a home in a special needs trust for a loved one with a disability is a terrific way
for parents, grandparents or others to contribute to the future of their family member and
to ensure that they live where they want – in a home of their own where support can be
Families that may be able to leave a house in a special needs trust are typically concerned
that there will not be adequate money in the trust, either initially or over the long term, to
cover the cost of major repairs and upkeep on the home.
The General Assembly passed a bill that takes effect in June 2006 that will help
individuals and families in these situations. As a result of the bill (HB 717), trusts that
own a home for an individual with a disability may now qualify for a loan under the
Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program (MHRP), which is designed for “families of
Loans under MHRP are for improvements such as correcting exterior and interior
deficiencies like a roof repair; making handicapped modifications; and improving
weatherization and energy conservation. MHRP loans have interest rates based upon the
owner’s – or this case the trust’s – ability to repay the loan. Trusts will have to meet the
same eligibility requirements as families do to access the program. The legislation will
also allow an individual living in a home owned by their Special Needs Trust to qualify
for the Homeowners Property Tax Credit if they meet eligibility criteria.
Information on Special Needs Trusts and other estate planning issues: See
Planning Now at: www.md-council.org/ publications. For information on
HB717 see http://mlis.state.md.us/#bill For information on MHRP and other
housing programs: 410-514-7565 or www.mdhousing.org (click on
“Programs” and “Improving a Home”)
LEGISLATION EXTENDS HOUSING PROTECTIONS
When a rental property converts to condominiums, tenants loose out because they are
forced to move and frequently have difficulty finding rental housing elsewhere that they
can afford and that is near transportation, work and shopping. Relocating can be more
difficult for a person with a disability and this problem is intensifying as more properties
convert. Greater protections are now available for individuals with developmental
disabilities as a result of legislation, SB 10, which passed this session.
Developers are required to offer extended leases to tenants in 20% of the units in a
building that “goes condo” if the tenants qualify. SB 10 expands the definition of who
may qualify for an extended lease to include individuals with all types of disabilities, as
well as seniors. Previously a tenant had to have mobility impairment or be a senior.
In addition, when more than 20% of tenants are qualified for an extended lease, priority
is now given to qualified households who require wheelchair accessible housing. The
legislation recognizes that this type of housing can take longer to locate.
The DDA Waiting List: A Quiet Crisis
The need for increased funding for community services for individuals with
developmental disabilities and their families is evident simply by looking at the data (as
of January 2006):
• There are over 15,500 children and adults waiting for 27,464 community services
• 10,283 of the individuals waiting are not receiving any service
• 41% of the services people need are categorized as critical
• Over 17 % of caregivers are over 60
Health Care Advocacy Efforts Ensure Consumer Protection &
Medicare Part D- Consumer Protection
Since the onset of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program in January 2006,
national reports have noted that many people eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare
(“dual eligibles”) under this program have experienced problems getting their
medications. This has led at least 14 states to take emergency action. In Maryland, the
legislature acted by passing HB 1467, which establishes an emergency Medicare Part D
Stopgap program to assist beneficiaries, including beneficiaries with disabilities, in
obtaining Medicare Part D benefits. The program will be established in the Department of
Aging (DOA) and the Governor may provide $2M in FY 2007 for outreach, education,
and counseling of individuals regarding Medicare Part D. Among other things, HB 1467
also requires the State to collect and report on statewide data on health problems resulting
from lapses or changes in medication.
To report problems with obtaining medications under the Medicare Part D
benefit call: 1-800-MEDICARE or 1-800-638-3403.
MD’s DOA has 19 local area agencies, each with a designated coordinator
and trained volunteers to provide information and assistance. Contact: 1-
800-243-3425 and/or visit DOA’s website:
The Medicaid Matter!Maryland Coalition (MM!MD) is a volunteer statewide consumer-
directed coalition of more than 70 local, regional and statewide organizations
representing persons with disabilities, children’s advocates, seniors, and the low income
community. The coalition, which includes the DD Council, advocates for keeping
Maryland’s Medicaid program whole and strong. Through its story project, MM!MD
personalizes the impact public health services have on the lives of people who need and
use them. Each week of the legislative session, individuals’ stories and photos were
distributed to legislators. The stories helped to shape the coalition’s testimony on health
care bills, with the intent that the stories will in turn help to shape policy.
With the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 by Congress giving greater
flexibility to states, health and disability advocates need to be aware, more than ever, of
changes states may make to their Medicaid programs. While some of the changes may be
positive for individuals with developmental disabilities, some of them could be negative.
For example, a state could increase co-payments or premiums.
In light of this, the MM!MD coalition strongly supported legislation, HB 1574, that
would have required the State to allow the public to review and comment on any
proposed amendments to the Medical Assistance Program prior to submission to the
federal government for approval. The bill was amended and this provision was changed.
Now, if the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) submits amendments to
the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to the federal government, its must submit a
copy of the amendments to the members of the Medicaid Advisory Committee (MAC)
members within 5 business days. In addition, if DHMH applies for a new Medicaid
waiver or amends and existing waiver, it is required to submit a copy to the MAC for
discussion. Even though the amended bill does not require input prior to submission of
changes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, this is a positive
development as it will still allow greater consumer input.
To find out more about MM!MD, to support the coalition, to join, or to be a
part of the story project: www.medicaidmattersmd.com or e-mail
Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee
Legislation passed that will expand and enliven the Maryland Medicaid Advisory
Committee (MAC) in several ways. It mandates that the majority of the committee
members be Medicaid consumers and their advocates, including developmental
disability representation. It further requires the Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene (DHMH) to seek recommendations for committee members from state
advocacy organizations, including the DD Council, and reimburse committee members
who are Medicaid recipients for related expenses like personal care and transportation.
The MAC advises DHMH on the implementation, evaluation and operation of the
Medicaid managed care program.
For more information, contact Michelle Hart at
The Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program Begins April 1
Do you know of someone with a disability who is reluctant to work more hours or
get a higher paying position because he or she fears losing Medical Assistance
The Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program may be the opportunity for
The Maryland General Assembly approved $10.6M to expand the Employed Individuals
with Disabilities Program. This program allows people with disabilities who work to
keep their Medicaid health care coverage.
As of April 1, the Maryland Medical Assistance Program initiated The Employed
Individuals with Disabilities Program that extends Medical Assistance health benefits to
working Marylanders with disabilities. The Program also allows individuals to have
more resources than in other Medicaid Programs.
Eligible individuals should:
Have/had a Social Security determined disability (SSI or SSDI);
Be between 18-64 years of age;
Have income up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level in 2006; income
for an individual is about $30,000; income for a couple is about $40,000.
Have resources of less than $10,000. In addition, the first $4,000 dollars in a
retirement account do not count toward the limit.
A $75 enrollment fee gives you six months of health coverage. If you can not afford the
fee, you may request that it be waived.
For information about the Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program
or to get an application, call 1-866-373-9651 or TTY 1-866-373-9652
Maryland Regulations to Align with IDEA 2004 Changes
Although the U.S. Department of Education has not finalized IDEA 2004 Regulations,
which provide guidelines concerning changes to the federal Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has begun
work to conform Maryland’s regulations to the federal requirements.
During legislative session, MSDE put forward legislation to modify several provisions in
Maryland regulations to align with the new federal statute. Several disability
organizations, including the DD Council, requested amendments that would clarify the
requirements, including the definition of parent and maintaining the 180 day timeline for
filing a certain appeal. Ultimately, the amendments were included, although the 180 day
timeline was reduced to 120 day, meaning parents will now have only 120 days to file an
appeal from an administrative hearing decision.
In addition, Maryland has completed the initial review and revision process to align
several other Maryland regulations with those at the federal level.
The proposed changes are expected to be published in the Maryland
Register this spring http://www.dsd.state.md.us/mdregister/
Before being finalized, MSDE will seek public comment to the proposed changes.
Public comment hearings are expected to take place during the month of May. Specific
dates will be published in the Maryland Register and will be available by contacting
To obtain a listing of the dates, times and locations, please contact
Andrew Wilson (in the beginning of May) at MSDE 410-767-0858 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration will be required.
Introducing Our First Newsletter
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT ALLIANCE “Friendship: Good for Everyone.”
The YEA, a project of the Council, is pleased to announce the distribution of its first, in
a series of, informational newsletters specifically designed for youth and young adults
with disabilities. Each newsletter will highlight a topic of interest to young adults who
are transitioning from school to the adult world.
The first YEA newsletter is titled “Friendship: Good for Everyone.” The article states:
“Apart from our families, friends can be the most important people in our lives. A friend
is someone who likes you for who you are.” Making and keeping friends can be difficult
for young adults of any age. The article talks about making friends, knowing yourself,
and gives some general ideas on how to connect with other people. It also reminds us that
“to have a good friend, you also have to be a good friend!” Be sure to check out the last
section of the article, which highlights self-advocacy and friendship as well as listing a
number of good resources.
The YEA is also pleased to announce that it has awarded its second round of mini-grants
to youth and community organizations to help them meaningfully include and support
young adults with developmental disabilities.
For more information about the mini-grants or to download a copy of the
first YEA Newsletter visit www.md-council.org or contact Anne Marie Lane,
YEA Project Director, at 410-937-4357 or AnneMarieL@md-council.org
In January, The Council joined The
Arc of Maryland, in partnership
with The State Department of
Education, Department of
Disabilities, and the Maryland
Coalition for Inclusive Education in an
awards ceremony celebrating
National Inclusive Schools Week.
This past October, students from
across the State were invited to
submit an essay and/or poster
representing the benefits of an
inclusive education. The Governor was on hand to celebrate with the students and their
families in a ceremony held in the Miller Senate Building in Annapolis.
COUNCIL WELCOMES NEW STAFF MEMBER
Angela Castillo-Epps began March 1 as the Council’s new Director of
Communications/Policy Specialist. Angela is responsible for developing and
coordinating the Council’s publications and reports and managing the website. She will
also be the point person for public policy issues regarding transportation, self-advocacy,
self-determination, and quality assurance. Prior to the Council, Angela spent six years
with Abilities Network working to include children and adults with disabilities in the
community. We welcome Angela to the Council and are pleased to have her on board.
She can be reached at 410-767-2914 or email@example.com 6
A CHILDREN’S BOOK FOR EVERYONE’S LIBRARY
SARAH STUP’S Do-si-Do WITH AUTISM
“Writing is my voice because my sounding voice is broken.”
Sarah is a twenty-two year old writer who has autism and primarily communicates by
typing into a machine that translates her thoughts on to rolls of tape. However, one needs
only to read her poetry filled with insightful and honest images of living with autism to
hear her message loud and clear.
Sarah Stup has just begun her journey as a poet, essayist and children’s author as she
recently completed her first children’s book, Do-si-Do with Autism, a creatively written
book with the message, “We are worth knowing.” The book’s main character is a turtle
named Taylor, who also has autism and is struggling with issues at school. Sarah uses
her ability to relate to children with autism by identifying their feelings and bringing
those feelings to the surface. Sarah will continue sharing her message by writing a
second book for middle school children that focuses on the challenges of having autism
and socializing with peers.
Sarah wants it known that, “People with disabilities and other differences are simply real
people inside of bodies that work differently.” She has the self determination, community
and family support and talent to continue spreading her compelling message. Sarah is
currently working with a literary consultant to secure future publishing opportunities.
The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council awarded Sarah a grant to help fund the
layout, artwork and initial printing costs of Do-si-Do with Autism. The illustrators of the
book are students of Villa Julie College where you can find an entire exhibit of Sarah
Stup's work. The exhibit is entitled Ramps over Fear and will be featured at Villa Julie College
in the St. Paul Companies Pavilion through May 26, 2006.
For more information on the exhibit visit www.vjc.edu To purchase Do-si-Do with
Autism and learn more about Sarah Stup and her work visit, www.sarahstup.com
Inclusive Child Care Efforts Continue
(Not included in hard copy version) Added 5/3/06
In 2004, under the auspices of the Child Care Administration and the Department of
Disabilities, the Taskforce on Inclusive Child Care and After-School Care for Children
with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs developed a range of recommendations.
The recommendations focused on policy improvements and resource development and
education aimed increasing access to quality child care and after-school care.
In 2005, before the Task Force recommendations could be implemented, legislation
passed that transferred the Child Care Administration from the Department of Human
Resources to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). It is now referred to
as the Office of Child Care. The Council successfully advocated for an amendment to the
legislation that required MSDE to develop an implementation plan to address the child care
needs of families with children who have disabilities and/or special health care needs. The
amendment required MSDE to incorporate the recommendations of the Task Force and
reflect input from families.
As a result, MSDE formed an Inclusive Child Care Workgroup in the fall of 2005.
Stakeholder representation and input was ensured; including that of the Council, parents,
and other stakeholders. In January of 2006, MSDE’s Implementation Plan for Inclusive
Child Care and School-Age Care was completed and submitted to the General Assembly.
The plan incorporates recommendations from the original Task Force and outlines
implementation action steps with associated timelines.
The action steps outlined in the plan are scheduled to begin by July 2006 and include, but
are not limited to:
Development and issuance of a circular letter clarifying OCC’s requirements and
expectations around the inclusion of children with disabilities and special health care
Development of protocol supporting implementation and adherence to the policies
identified within the ADA as well as Section 504 in child and after school care
The establishment of a professional development program which provides technical
assistance and offers incentives for providers to participate in trainings that support
Other plans include mandated training and the implementation of a mediation/resolution
process for parents and providers, and Progress reports detailing the effectiveness of the
plan are required to be submitted by MSDE on or before July 1, 06, 07, and 08.
Advocates will continue to monitor the impact of MSDE’s implementation plan as it
relates to improving opportunities and access to child care for children with disabilities
and special health care needs.
The complete recommendations of the Task Force on Inclusive Child Care and After
School Care for Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs and MSDE’s
Implementation Plan for Inclusive Child Care and School-Age Care may be downloaded
WELCOME NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS
Sarah Collier, has been actively involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and
the Howard County Disability Awareness Project. She has an interest in advocating for
improved and accessible housing, employment and self-advocacy for all people with
disabilities. Ms. Collier resides in Baltimore.
Eva Cowen, is the Director of the Special Needs Programs at the Jewish Community
Center of Greater Washington. She brings with her 17 years of professional experience
in the field of developmental disabilities. Ms. Cowen resides in Montgomery County
and has a brother with a developmental disability.
Victoria Duerr, has an interest in transition, communication and fostering collaboration
between disability groups. Her advocacy activities include membership on the Carroll
County Public Schools Curriculum Committee, SECAC, and CHADD. Ms. Duerr resides
in Carroll County and has a son with a developmental disability.
Thomas Fulton, graduated from Queen Anne’s County Public Schools and works for the
Board of Education. Mr. Fulton has a strong interest in the areas of self-advocacy,
transportation, and employment. He also competes in power lifting, swimming, and
kayaking during Special Olympics events.
Polly Huston, is the Director of Program and Community Supports at the Division of
Rehabilitation Services (DORS). Ms. Huston hopes to enhance the relationship between
the Council and DORS. Ms. Huston resides in Harford County.
Shin Ki Kim, works as the Outreach Program Director for the Korean American Disabled
People’s Association. She has a special interest in promoting more inclusive
opportunities for Koreans with disabilities, as well as for others with disabilities. Ms.
Kim resides in Baltimore County and has a son with a developmental disability.
Angela Harp, has a special interest in accessibility issues and a strong desire to help
others advocate for themselves as she has done repeatedly for herself. Ms. Harp resides in
Robert Watson, is the President of the UCP of Prince George’s and Montgomery
Counties. He has been with the Maryland Youth Leadership Program since its inception.
He is the founder of the “CP group,” an organization focused on networking
professionals with CP around the country. For 14 years he has also been the Executive
Director of “DateAble,” a dating and social organization for people with disabilities. His
interests include advocating at the state level for issues around transition, employment,
and socialization. Mr. Watson resides in Prince George’s County.
This Newsletter is a publication of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council
Jeffery Rives, Council Chairperson | Brian Cox, Executive Director | Angela Castillo-Epps, Editor