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Mental Retardation Update
December 19, 2003

Volunteers Needed
PCPA needs volunteers from agencies that are full members to assist with several committees.

  • Annual Conference Committee needs volunteers with a background in mental retardation to assist with coordinating PCPA’s 2004 Annual Convention. The committee will be meeting for full days once a month beginning in January. Contact Kris Ericson at the Association if you are interested.
  • The Department of Public Welfare's Home and Community Based Services grant (cross-disabilities) is establishing several work groups and is looking for volunteers from the mental retardation field. Work groups will include: Aging and Disability Resource Centers; Consumer Information; Quality/Data; Money Follows the Person/Breaking Down Silos; Housing; Direct Care Workers.

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these committees, please contact Linda Drummond at PCPA.

New Freedom Initiative
President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative introduced in 2001 will continue with a commitment of community living alternatives with a proposed $2.1 billion in planned new spending over five years, with $417 million proposed for FY2004. “Money Follows the Individual: Rebalancing Initiative” is the focus of this effort which looks at home and community-based care as an alternative to nursing homes and institutions for persons with disabilities and the elderly. In the first year of this rebalancing, Medicaid will fully reimburse states for individuals moving from institutions into home and community care. After the first year, the state would continue the services at the normal Medicaid match rates. Additional information is available at www.cms.hhs.gov/newfreedom.

Grant Opportunities
Mini-grants to support the elimination of barriers to community inclusion for children/youth with special health care needs are available from the state’s Bureau of Family Health. Grants support activities that directly address physical, environmental, and information barriers to allow community organizations, businesses, and schools to be more inclusive for children. Eligible expenses include equipment, assistive technology, communication devices, site/facility improvements, environment/curriculum, and technology. The deadline is February 13, 2004. For details or an application contact Candace Johndrow at 717-783-6536.

The National Center for Family Friends will fund six to eight local organizations to establish new Family Friends projects at approximately $70,000 annually for 30 months. Family Friends is an intergenerational volunteer program that pairs older volunteers (ages 55+) with families who have children with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. These volunteers provide support, encouragement, and practical assistance to families who are working towards achieving personal goals and overcoming the challenges of daily living. The application deadline is January 30, 2004. For details or an application contact 202-479-6672 or www.family-friends.org.

Teleconference Training
PA’s Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, offers several teleconference opportunities that may be of interest.

  • March 10, 2004, 1:00-3:00 p.m. addressing Pennsylvania Community of Practice in Support of Secondary Transition. The IDEA-MOU Interagency Team will share successful experiences in transition students to employment and successful adult community living. Audience: educators, local agency administrators, direct service staff, provider staff, parents. For details contact PATTAN at www.pattan.k12.pa.us for registration and downlink sites.
  • May 5, 2004, 1:00-3:00 p.m. addressing School-Based Mental Health. Addresses shared opportunities education and mental health agencies have in working with parents to make collaboration a reality. Audience: educators, direct service staff, related services staff, families. For details contact PATTAN at www.pattan.k12.pa.us for registration and downlink sites.

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