Friday, July 31, 2009

US Signs UN Disability Rights Convention

President Obama announced the US signing of the
United Nation’s International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, signed the treaty on July 30th at the United Nations as required under international legal arrangements. Upon signature, the U.S. must uphold the general purpose of the treaty, but is not legally bound under international law to any specific article until the Senate ratifies it by two-thirds majority vote. Read the President's related remarks at:

US participation in the UN CRPD has been a long time coming, stalled for years under previous administrations. When ratified, the US will join numerous other nations who’ve signed and ratified the protocol. Here’s looking forward to the day the US is “in the red” on the map!

Legislative Updates

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the two FY 2010 appropriations bills that are of major interest to the disability community.  Funding for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) passed on July 23. Funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (L-HHS-ED) passed July 24.  The Senate will hold committee mark ups on the bills shortly.

The T-HUD bill provides $10.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration and $350 million for the HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program, a $100 million increase above the current FY 2009 level. Also, the House passed the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1675) which will significantly reform the Section 811 program. The legislation was initially introduced by Representatives Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL). Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) introduced an identical companion version of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2009 (S. 1481). 

President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the availability of about $9 billion in new grants to states, local school systems and other entities from funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Approximately $4.35 is in the "Race to the Top" fund, aimed at improving educational outcomes. All of the information about this funding, which includes competitive grant opportunities, can be found in the education section of the ARRA website, . UCP's Disability Policy Collaboration will provide some public comments on the Recovery website. 

ARC and UCP Seek Lobbyist

The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy's Disability Policy Collaboration is seeking a Senior Lobbyist to cover disability rights, technology, emergency management, and family related issues.  The Application deadline is August 3, 2009.  For more  information, see: or

Friday, July 24, 2009

Parade Mag Story on Seclusion and Restraint Abuse

FROM THE AUTHOR-- Mike Kruger, Online Outreach Specialist for the House Committee on Education and Labor, sent me an email this morning about an important story running now in Parade Magazine on the use  of seclusion and restraint on children with disabilities and others-- a previous blog topic here on DI (

Parade Magazine has a print circulation of 30 million readers, so about 10% of America will be exposed to the issue! After you read the article in print or online, you can comment online, and I encourage you to do so. Please see the story at: 

The House Committee on Education and Labor has a blog post about the Parade story and some of the progress Committee Chairman Miller has made on the issue of seclusion and restraint. It's also a great article, please be sure to read it and respond, also:

We can make a difference through our blog comments!

New Ethics Code for Rehab Counselors

FROM CRCC-- The New Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors Available Online, Code is Effective as of January 1, 2010
CRCC has just completed the process of updating its Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors (Code). Items below reflect the 10 most important changes to the Code and are by no means all-inclusive. Rehabilitation Counselors certified by CRCC are bound to act in accordance with the new Code, effective January 1, 2010 and, as such, are encouraged to fully read the new Code.

The full Code is now available for viewing, downloading, and printing directly from the CRCC website, CRC/CCRC Code of Ethics page, or at

Top 10 New Code Changes
1. Professional Disclosure Statement:

Written statement is now required; informed consent is expanded and addressed separately.
2. Roles and Relationships with Clients:

Requirements are enhanced for both professional and non-professional client relationships.
3. Cultural Competence/Diversity:

New standards added requiring development of interventions and services to incorporate consideration of cultural perspectives and recognition of external barriers.
4. Disaster Preparedness:

New standard added establishing obligation to plan for continued services in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
5. Technology and Distance Counseling:

(formerly Electronic Communication and Emerging Applications)

Complete section overhaul establishing practices that address latest technology across all mediums.
6. Forensic and Indirect Services:

New section added specific to this role.
7. End-of-Life Care:

New standards added addressing end-of-life issues for terminally ill patients.
8. Teaching, Training, and Supervision:

Section enhanced to include concerns/scenarios found within the workplace.
9. Glossary of Terms:

New section to define key terminology used throughout the Code.
10. Preamble:

Section enhanced to identify values that serve as the foundation to the Code.

"We thank the many people - CRCs/CCRCs, industry professionals, educators, and all interested persons - who took the time and effort to participate in this important Code revision. Your input has been invaluable in helping us update many key areas of the Code, which enables our Certified Rehabilitation Counselors to continue to provide complete, caring service to persons with disabilities."
Cindy A. Chapman, Executive Director
Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wear Red for ADA Anniversary

July 26th is the 19th anniverary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since many VR counselors and other rehabilitation professionals aren’t working on the actual anniversary day of the ADA, Sunday July 26, the Center for Consumer and External Affairs decided to commemorate the spirit of the ADA on Thursday, July 23. Wear something red on Thursday to show your support of independence for people with disabilities!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Disability Included Under Hate Crime Protections

US-- S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), included in S. 1390, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 HAS PASSED THE SENATE. It will now head to President Obama for signature.

Under this measure, federal hate crime law is expanded to cover offenses based on a victim's gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, or on a disability.

Several controversial amendments proposed to S.1390 by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and John Thune (R-SD) also passed the Senate. Senator Sessions' amendments allow the death penalty in certain cases involving hate crimes and gives the Attorney General the ability to set the criteria that determines if a hate crime has been committed. Senator Thune's amendment allows state-to-state reciprocity for concealed weapon permits.


Major Congressional Events Update

Update: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
The House Appropriations Committee adopted the FY 2010 Appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education on Friday. The bill contains funding for entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and SSI. The House bill appropriates $163 billion for discretionary programs such as IDEA, and Vocational Rehabilitation. No action has yet occurred on a Senate bill.

Update: Departments of Transportation and HUD
The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies bill. It includes a $100 billion increase for the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program.

Update: Employment
Last Thursday, the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee held a hearing on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act. WIA authorizes the workforce development program and Title IV is the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Officials from the Departments of Labor and Education provided testimony as well as other employment community stakeholders testified about ways to improve access and services for people with disabilities.

Friday, July 17, 2009

E-bility Adds Disability Intel to Blogroll

Disability Intel is very pleased to announce that, a top website offering easy access to a wide range of information, resources, services and products of interest people with disability, their families and carers, health professionals and service providers in the disability sector, has added Disability Intel to its blog roll. I encourage you to visit for great information on such varied and important topics as disability news, travel, accessibility, advocacy, and classifieds! We support E-bility, and we thank them for their support of us. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

NIDDR Webcast Announcement


Please join us for a webcast hosted by the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR) on Thursday, July 16, 2009: Jamaican Culture and Rehabilitation Issues. The featured presenter is Doreen M. Miller, RhD, CRC. The 90-minute webcast will begin at 3:00pm Eastern; 2:00pm Central; 1:00pm Mountain; 12:00pm Pacific; 11:00am Alaska; 9:00am Hawaii. The webcast is presented in collaboration with the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at Memorial Herman|TIRR.

Webcast Registration (no fee to participate):

Sotomayor Enjoys Wide Support from Disability Groups

US-- Disability Scoop reports that more than 24 disability rights and advocacy groups such as the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Autism Society of America, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the National Council on Independent Living, and others have asked the US Senate to support Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court appointment.

Sonia Sotomayor has adjudicated cases involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Social Security, and Medicaid while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Robert Bernstein, executive director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, says “Judge Sotomayor has repeatedly demonstrated a thorough understanding and a deep respect for the laws that protect the rights of Americans with physical and mental disabilities…”

Disability Groups Unite Behind Sotomayor Confirmation

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

State Budget Deficits Hit People with Disabilities

USA-- In a recent report on the ten states with the most serious budget shortfalls, ABC News highlighted sharp cuts on a variety of states services many of which negatively affect people with disabilities. Following are brief summaries of cuts most likely to hurt people with disabilities and those who serve them:

Arizona is eliminating its disability benefits program for people waiting for Social Security benefits. The state is also cutting $49 million from the Health Services Department.
California has increased co-pay amounts and reduced dental benefits in the state children's health program. The state has also eliminated dental and vision services for many Medicaid recipients.
In Nevada, the Governor has ordered a number of cuts in education, including elimination of funds for a magnet program for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Illinois faces a $140 million cut in health insurance, a $175 million cut in education, and a $283 million cut in the Department of Human Services.
New York
New York Governor David Paterson proposes $3.5 billion cuts in healthcare services.
The state will underfund the Department of Human Services by $387 million. The state is also cutting $41 million out of day care programming for low-income families.
Vermont enacted a health care and related services provider rate cut that will affect contract healthcare services, mental health care providers, sign language interpreters, and children’s rehabilitation.
The state made a 70% cut in Medicaid for low-income seniors, resulting in elder care provider lay-offs.