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Campaign

The sustained funding of community-based mental health services, such as community residential programs, family-based support, outpatient care, and crisis intervention, are critical to the wellbeing of our constituents and our communities. Funding levels for county mental health services have direct impacts on whether these important community and family supports will be available. Yet for too many years, state funding for mental health services has lagged far behind its needs. Counties find themselves advocating to prevent funds from being cut instead of achieving the increases that are needed to catch up from years of underfunding.

This year, RCPA and other system stakeholders have teamed with the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) through the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition. We join this campaign to bring awareness of the critical funding needs of mental health services for vulnerable Pennsylvanians. We ask our members, stakeholders, and partners to join us in this collaborative effort by engaging with your legislators. “County mental health services provide a critical piece to the public safety net for people in need,” notes Richard S. Edley, PhD, President and CEO of RCPA. “The system sustained cuts over a decade ago with little relief since then. It is time to restore those dollars and further enhance the system. Not only will it provide critical funding for the individuals receiving services, but there are positive benefits — both financially and clinically — to the entire community.”

The time to act is now for engaging with your representative, as local communities and providers have come together to sustain the safety net and serve those who need it most. The reality is that the demand for service far outweighs capacity and rate structures to serve this population. CCAP has created the following materials to assist in providing strategic talking points for our outreach:

If you have further thoughts or questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has been selected as one of nine national organizations to receive funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through a cooperative agreement with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The comprehensive nationwide campaign will help improve the vaccination rates of the direct support workforce and people with disabilities.

According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration and the NADSP, 26% of DSPs who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities remain unvaccinated.

As the premiere trusted source of direct support professionals (DSPs), the NADSP will conduct targeted vaccine outreach activities in the disability community to increase vaccination rates among people with disabilities across the lifespan, their family caregivers, and DSPs.

Read More Here


Vaccine Hesitancy Campaign: Partner Organizations

As stated above, the NADSP is among the nine national leaders in the disability and human services field selected to be a part of the coordinated initiative to address vaccine hesitancy. This campaign has been established through a cooperative agreement with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The partner organizations include:

  • American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
  • The Arc
  • Autism Society
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
  • Family Voices
  • National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP)
  • National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)
  • Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
  • Spina Bifida Association

Group Warns of Escalating Health and Safety Crisis in I/DD Community
Releases Video to Increase Awareness
Calls to End One-Size-Fits-All Policy Solutions

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Together for Choice, a national advocacy organization formed to protect and advance the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), today announced the ACT NOW for Severe Autism Campaign with a consortium of partners, including the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), concerned parents and other advocates. The campaign seeks to shine light on the growing health and safety crisis involving individuals with severe autism and change policies that deprive them of the services they need.

“For too long, individuals with severe autism have remained in the shadows and all too-often forgotten in policy discussions,” said Ashley Kim Weiss, National Coordinator of Together for Choice. “Most of the attention and resources have been devoted to integrating high functioning members of the I/DD community into society, which we agree is important. Equally important, however, are the most vulnerable individuals with severe disabilities who can never fully integrate and are in desperate need of customized care and support to live healthy and productive lives.

The group promoted a video, which first debuted at the RCPA Conference held in Pennsylvania last week. A parent of a severely autistic child self-financed and produced the video to combat the increasing claims of the highly vocal and publicly visible advocates of the neuro diversity community, that severe autism does not exist. Or worse yet, that the needs of those individuals with severe autism are no different than the needs of any other individual diagnosed with autism.

The video can be found at: https://youtu.be/xwvKYE5C2Ys

“While the video is at times uncomfortable to watch, it is critical that the public see the realities that these individuals and families face on a daily basis,” said Richard S. Edley, President and CEO of RCPA. “We need more resources and more flexible policy solutions to address this growing crisis. One-size-fits-all solutions must end. We must recognize that one-size does not fit everyone. People will always be left out – and sadly, it is often the most vulnerable who are forgotten.”

The group also launched a website at www.ACTNOWFORSEVEREAUTISM.com which houses the video and contains a petition to end these policies as well as more information about how the public can get involved and advocate for change in policies that discriminate against individuals with severe autism and their families.

About Together for Choice
Together for Choice (TFC) is a non-profit organization with a mission to unite to protect and advance the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to live, work and thrive in a community or setting of their choice. Please visit www.togetherforchoice.org for more information.

About the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association:
With well over 350 members, the majority of who serve over 1 million Pennsylvanians annually, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) is among the largest and most diverse state health and human services trade associations in the nation. RCPA advocates for those in need, works to advance effective state and federal public policies, serves as a forum for the exchange of information and experience, and provides professional support to members. RCPA provider members offer mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging services, through all settings and levels of care. Visit www.paproviders.org for more information.

 

Contact for TFC
Ashley Kim Weiss
National Coordinator
Together for Choice
P: 310-889-8800

Contact for RCPA
Richard S. Edley, PhD
President and CEO
Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA)
P: 717-364-3280