What's New

Wisconsin Families Forward Shares the Facts and Announces Press Events!

A new grassroots group of families – Wisconsin Families Forward – is planning press events for next week to highlight the impact of the freeze on community long-term care on new grads and young people with disabilities and their families. Check back at the DRW website for information on press conferences in Appleton and Madison next Thursday and other pending events in Eau Claire and Milwaukee.

Please distribute the Wisconsin Families Forward brochure broadly to create awareness about the dire choices facing families after June 30, 2011. Send family stories, photos and full addresses to Lisa.Pugh@drwi.org; and encourage families to continue to complete our SURVEY.

Most importantly, if you are impacted by the freeze on community long-term care funding in any way, please continue to contact and put pressure on your legislator. Ask them to introduce an amendement to lift the cap and ensure that our young people do not graduate to the couch!

Click here to read the Families Forward brochure

Survival Coalition issues position statement to Joint Finance on expansion of School vouchers

The Survival Coalition of Disability Organizations, to which DRW belongs, issued the following statement to the Joint Finance Committee, urging it not to expand private school voucher programs. Joint Finance is expected to take this issue up on June 2nd. Click the link below to read the statement.

Survival Comments – Executive Action on Biennial Budget DPI Choice

Share this Survey with Families of Children and Young Adults with Disabilities

A group of grassroots parent advocates in the state – Wisconsin Families Forward – hasn’t given up on stopping a proposed freeze on community long-term care funding for children and adults with disabilities. Wisconsin Families Forward has formed to specifically share the stories of young people with disabilities and their families who now face uncertainty and terrifying choices after the freeze goes into effect June 30.

Please share this survey with your networks, groups of families and parent associations – particularly parents of young children and parents of young adults in transition or waiting for a life in the community.

Click here for the survey.

Also, encourage families to send their personal stories with photo and complete address to this address – Lisa.Pugh@drwi.org. Stories will be shared with legislators. When writing their story, here are questions families should answer:

Knowing your son/daughter as you do now, and thinking of the type of supports he/she may need to live life as a successful adult – as YOU envision – what will it mean if there is NOTHING by way of help?

The U.S. Dept. of Education sent FAQs on accessible educational technology to all colleges, universities, and K-12 school districts

To read the Dear Colleague Letter to elementary and secondary schools, see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201105-ese.html.
To read the Dear Colleague Letter to institutions of higher education, see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201105-pse.html.
The FAQ is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq-201105.html.

DRW Explains Discrimination in Voucher Programs

DRW Attorney Jeff Spitzer-Resnick explains how Milwaukee’s Parental Choice Program fails to serve children with disabilities in this Milwaukee Public Radio interview. He also explains that creating a special needs voucher program is not the answer to this problem.

Click here to listen to the program.

Disability Organizations Stunned by Joint Finance Committee Vote to Freeze Community Long-Term Care

On Tuesday, May 24 the Joint Finance Committee voted to freeze all community long-term care programs in Wisconsin, impacting thousands of seniors and people with disabilities. In taking this action, the committee ignored the calls, e-mails, petitions and personal stories of countless Wisconsin residents. DRW is a member of the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations who issued this press statement on the stunning vote.

Click here to download the Survival Coalition Press Release.

Two Dane County Moms ask the Joint Finance Committee to Fund Community Long-Term Care Today!

Two Dane County Moms, both who are leaders in the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations, submitted this letter to the editor in the May 24 Wisconsin State Journal:

We are two proud Dane County moms. Our children have grown up in Madison. One is set to graduate in spring, the other is serving an internship at the VA Hospital. Both have developmental disabilities.

We are also proud of Dane County’s history of support that makes the community participation of our children possible. Many adults with disabilities who need support live and work in our communities, but growing waiting lists and shrinking budgets have drastically affected the ability to support people with long-term needs. In Dane County alone there are 314 adults on a waiting list for support. The wait can be 10 years or more.

In 1998 Gov. Tommy Thompson rolled out a model designed to end waiting lists. The Family Care program and later the IRIS program ended the wait in most Wisconsin counties. While not perfect, this system has reduced costly institutional care.

Today the state’s budget committee will vote on whether to freeze community long-term care, which would make our children and thousands of others wait indefinitely. The money is there to lift this cap. We ask the Legislature to lift the cap on community long-term care.

To view a report on the issue by the Survival Coalition, more than 40 disability organizations statewide, click here.

- Beth Swedeen, executive director, Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities; and Barbara Katz, co-director, Family Voices of Wisconsin, both of Madison

Click here to view the letter to the editor on the Wisconsin State Journal website.

DRW joins DD Board and Wisconsin FACETS in Op Ed opposing Special Ed Vouchers

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an Op-Ed in its May 24th edition in which DRW is joined by the Board on People with Developmental Disabilities and Wisconsin FACETS explaining why all three disability organizations oppose Special Education vouchers.

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

Study Touts Family Care

The Family Care Managed Care Organizations just released an analysis based on DHS data and information from the recent Legislative Audit Bureau’s audit of Family Care that shows that Family Care saves money ($89 million last year) because it is more cost effective than the waiver system. DRW Milwaukee Office Manager Barbara Beckert speaks to the fiscal impact of the cap which will result in higher costs due to increased use of costly institutional care.

Click here to view the article on the Journal Sentinel website.

Statewide Aging and Disability Groups Show the Legislature the Money and Say “Lift the Caps!”

On May 20 Wisconsin Legislators received a proposal from 13 statewide disability and aging groups which cites new ways that the Legislature can fund long-term care. The proposal directs the Legislature to new funding sources to lift the cap, including a redirection of some of the additional $636 million in overall tax revenues.

The proposal also cites data that shows that not only will a cap be costly to taxpayers, but it will result in people with disabilities and older adults facing just one extremely expensive long-term care option – and the one that most people want to avoid – a bed in a nursing home or other institution. This proposal defines a realistic way to avoid a Cap and continue progress toward long-term care reform – allowing people to remain in their homes and communities.

Click here to download Life the Cap on Long Term Care – A Funding Proposal.