What's New

Disability Organizations Concerned about Continued Controversial Seclusion and Restraint of Wisconsin Students: Report to be Released February 9

Sally Flaschberger, Disability Rights Wisconsin, 414-773-4646
Joanne Juhnke, Wisconsin Family Ties, 608-320-6165
Courtney Salzer, WI FACETS, 414-374-4645

When: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 – 10:00 AM

Where: Wisconsin State Capitol, 2 E Main Street, Madison- Room 300SE

A new report will be issued by Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Ties, and WI FACETS at the State Capitol on February 9th, showing that Wisconsin children continue to be frequently subjected to controversial seclusion and restraint practices in Wisconsin’s public schools, despite the passage of a law intended to reduce such measures. Families from across the state will join disability organizations at the Capitol to share their stories about the harmful emotional and physical consequences of seclusion and restraint on children. We invite you to attend the event to hear the stories and recommendations on how changes to the law could provide greater protection for students with and without disabilities across our state. This is the second year Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Ties, and WI FACETS – the state’s leading advocacy organizations for students with disabilities – have collaborated to collect seclusion and restraint data from nearly every school district in the state.

• The 2016 report will detail how families continue to report instances in which children, even those as young as five, are being secluded and restrained repeatedly, sometimes daily.

• The report gives data from more than 400 Wisconsin school districts that responded to an open records request.

• The report highlights great discrepancy in how districts across the state report their data; continued confusion on the definitions of seclusion and restraint; significant concerns regarding the role of law enforcement officers in restraining students; and a lack of parent notification when these practices are occurring.

Click here for a pdf of this invitation.

• Disability Rights Wisconsin is a statewide private nonprofit organization that is part of a national system of federally mandated independent disability agencies.

• Wisconsin Family Ties, Wisconsin’s family voice for children’s mental health, is a parent-run nonprofit serving families that include children with social, emotional or behavioral challenges.

• WI FACETS is Wisconsin’s U.S. Dept. of Education/Office of Special Education Programs-funded Parent Training and Information Center serving families of children and youth with disabilities statewide.

New Publication: Access from an Interpersonal Angle

Access from an Interpersonal Angle was developed through the Violence Against Women with Disabilities and Deaf Women Project of Wisconsin and authored by Mark Sweet, Trainer and Consultant at Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW). Access is often understood as a list of requirements based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Parking spaces, ramps, power doors and architectural dimensions for bathrooms are some of the factors that support and service organizations can check off their lists as either requirements met or not. From the points of view of service organizations, once they have accounted for structural access, there is often an assumption that access has been addressed. Being fully accessible is a dynamic practice that requires our attention one contact at a time.

This Tool is to be used by sexual assault and domestic violence programs to review their programs and services to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access and an equal opportunity to participate. Accessibility includes removing not only physical barriers to participation, but also cultural and attitudinal barriers. This Tool compliments the Self-Assessment Tool for Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities and the Accessibility Guide developed by the Project in 2004.

Click here to view Access from an Interpersonal Angle.

Last long-term care unit closes at Milwaukee Mental Health Complex

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel headlined its Sunday edition this past weekend with a story about the successful relocation of an individual to the community from the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. DRW has advocated for the closure of the long term care units at the Complex for many years. Some units closed as a result of the Joan S lawsuit brought by DRW and legal services partners in the early 1990’s. DRW advocates have served on the closing team for more than two years and, with some grant funding, have been making follow-up visits to many residents and guardians. DRW will be issuing a report with our findings and recommendations later this year.

The full story can be found here: Last long-term care unit closes at Milwaukee Mental Health Complex.

Integrating disabled citizens into the community – Op Ed by DRW’s Milwaukee Office Director Barbara Beckert

The promise of the ADA — for people with disabilities to be fully integrated into our community — is being realized in Milwaukee County with the closure of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex long-term care units.

Click here to read the Op-Ed on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website.

Join Disability Rights Wisconsin on the Road to Freedom!

Donate today to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and keep the disability rights movement moving forward toward freedom and opportunity for all!

Legislators Outline Next Steps in the Design of Family Care/IRIS 2.0

On Friday, December 18 several members of the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee issued a letter to the Department of Health Services outlining their suggestions for the redesign of the Family Care and IRIS systems that support individuals with disabilities and older adults. Family Care/IRIS 2.0 is scheduled to go live after January 2017.

The letter suggests various performance measures and other quality indicators for the Department of Health Services to consider. The letter was issued following a November 18 informational hearing in which committee members heard from various national and state-level experts.

You can read the full letter here: DHS Letter on FamilyCare-IRIS.

Click here to read the rest of Legislators Outline Next Steps in the Design of Family Care/IRIS 2.0 »

Disability Rights Wisconsin Weighs in on Child Abuse Investigations Involving Children with Disabilities

The Wisconsin legislature is considering legislation intended to improve the child abuse and neglect investigation process. Recently Disability Rights Wisconsin testified in the Capitol to create awareness of unique concerns for children with disabilities and their parents, as well as parents with disabilities.

Read our testimony here:

Disability Rights WI – SB 324 SB 326 – Child Abuse – 10-22-15

Disability Rights WI – AB 429 AB 431 – Child Abuse – 11-5-15

Disability Rights Wisconsin also commented in a November 12 FOX6 News investigation into alarming trends in Wisconsin involving abuse and neglect. Watch the story here: FOX6 News.

Disability Rights Wisconsin Supports Committee Hearing on Long-Term Care Issues

Disability Rights Wisconsin worked with legislators to organize a November 18 informational hearing in the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care on the development of the new Family Care/IRIS 2.0 long-term care system for older adults and people with disabilities in Wisconsin. The state budget requires that Wisconsin implement a new integrated system including acute and primary care, behavioral health supports and long-term supports (including a new self-directed model) by January 1, 2017. These changes will impact more than 60,000 Wisconsinites who currently use Family Care and IRIS supports.

At the 11-18-15 hearing national experts on long-term care from Washington, DC and Tennessee joined Wisconsin aging and disability advocates to outline questions and make recommendations as Wisconsin develops this new system. Click here to read the rest of Disability Rights Wisconsin Supports Committee Hearing on Long-Term Care Issues »

DRW Listening Session – Friday, December 4 – Waukesha

Help shape our advocacy plans for the future.
Come and speak or just listen to what others in your
community have to say.

WHEN: Friday, December 4, 2015 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM

ACAP (Adaptive Community Approach Program)
Lower level of the First United Methodist Church
121 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha, 53186

For details, click here.

For the flyer in Spanish, haga click.

Your Voice Matters – Let it Be Heard!

megaphone with talk bubble around it symbolizing the fund your voice campaignDonate to Disability Rights Wisconsin’s Fund Our Voice campaign. We make sure the voices of people with disabilities are heard in Madison and Washington, D.C. – voices for equality, opportunity, and respect.

Legislation affecting people with disabilities is pending today in Congress and in Wisconsin’s Capitol.

Lobbyists will spend untold sums to influence legislation this election cycle. Who will fund your voice? Who will fund the voice of people with disabilities across Wisconsin?

Disability Rights Wisconsin alerts the public to disability issues, analyzes legislation, educates policy-makers, and trains advocates just like you!

Speak Out on Public Policy:

  • $50 Letter to Legislators
  • $100 Policy Education
  • $500 Visit to Capitol Hill
  • $1000 Disability Policy Training for a Self-Advocate