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Responsibilities Under Federal Civil Rights Laws
On May 14, the US Department of Education released guidance clarifying that charter schools – like all public schools – have a federal obligation to ensure that all children, regardless of race, national origin, sex, or disability status, receive a fair and equal opportunity to succeed. Charters have grown significantly in recent years and now make up nearly 6 percent of the nation’s public schools – three times the number in 1999. Read the Department’s letter on their website.
National Foster Care Month - NDRN released Foster Despair: Improving Access to Education Services for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities in State Custody. Recommendations were made to improve the living situation of children with disabilities in the care of the state who are not receiving appropriate education because they reside in congregate care or other institutional settings. Read about it here: http://www.ndrn.org/images/Documents/Media/Foster_Despair_Master__FINAL.pdf
Changes Coming to Indiana Medicaid Disability Eligibility: Effective June 1, 2014, Indiana is changing the way Hoosiers who are aged, blind or disabled obtain eligibility for Medicaid.
Currently, when an individual applies for Medicaid Disability coverage, he or she is subjected to additional, more restrictive criteria by the state than what is required for determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). After June 1, if you are found to be eligible for SSI you will automatically be eligible for Medicaid Disability. This will eliminate the need for applicants to complete a second application and go through a second medical review process to be determined eligible for Indiana Medicaid with disability coverage.
Also effective June 1, is the elimination of Indiana’s “spend down” provision, which currently allows individuals to “spend down” income in excess of Medicaid financial requirements in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility. Learn More: FSSA 2014 Medicaid Disability Eligibility Changes
IPAS Believes Bill HR 3717 is Misguided: Legislation proposed (HR 3717) will harm individuals with mental illness. Yesterday, Representative Tim Murphy introduced the proposed bill “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013” to the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 3717). This bill would virtually eliminate a critical federally funded advocacy program, Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness. To view the press release click here.
IPAS Critical Barrier Survey! Each year IPAS solicits input from the public which is used to help determine how IPAS spends its resources and efforts for the next year. Please help identify critical barriers that IPAS should consider as priority areas for our advocacy efforts - barriers that you believe, if eliminated or reduced, would benefit people the most. Please help us by taking a few minutes to complete the Disability Critical Barriers Survey. Start the Survey. For more information or to request an alternate format, contact Matt Norris at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at 1-800-825-4733 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission files disability discrimination complaint against Amtrak with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ).
A report by the National Disability Rights Network(NDRN) "All Aboard (Except People with Disabilities)" finds that more than two decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act took effect, many Amtrak stations across the country are not fully accessible to those with disabilities. To view the All Aboard (Except People with Disabilities) report Click Here. For the report, advocates with Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission visited train stations in Indiana. As a result of the Indiana findings, IPAS filed a disability discrimination complaint against Amtrak with the USDOJ. To view the press release Click Here.
New ADA Resources Online The ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), tailored to meet the needs of business, government and individuals at local, regional and national levels. The National Network is not an enforcement or regulatory agency, but a helpful resource supporting the ADA's mission to "make it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality."
New resources made available by the ADA National Network include::
The Americans with Disabilities Act: Questions and Answers
The ADA National Network Disability Law Handbook
ADA Title II and Title III Regulations Fact Sheet Series
ARC of Indiana and IPAS Partnership. Over the coming months, The Arc of Indiana and Self-Advocates of Indiana will be collaborating with Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS) to provide news and information on IPAS’s role in protecting the rights of people with disabilities. IPAS staff includes disability rights advocates and attorneys who have the authority to pursue appropriate legal and administrative remedies on behalf of people with disabilities to ensure the enforcement of their constitutional and statutory rights. IPAS may be able to assist Hoosiers who have a disability and are being denied a right or are being discriminated against because of that disability. One project we will be collaborating on is the creation of a free “Legal Network” comprised of individuals who are practitioners in the legal field who have a family member with a disability or direct interest in a person or individuals with disabilities. In the near future we will be establishing a “Legal Network” list serve for those interested in being part of the Legal Network. For more information, email the ARC of Indiana at: email@example.com.
ACLU of Indiana, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Win U.S. District Court Decision Regarding Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners. State violated rights of mentally ill inmates at Indiana prisons. On 12/31/12, a federal judge ruled in IPAS v. Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC), that "The treatment of mentally ill prisoners housed in [Indiana Department of Correction] IDOC segregation units and the New Castle Psychiatric Unit, and the failure to provide adequate treatment for such prisoners, violates the Eighth Amendment's proscription against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment." To view the IDOC Trial Court Decision, click here. To view the Press Release, click here.
Indiana’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) is possibly the preeminent disability rights advocacy challenge and opportunity facing us today. It could promise and deliver much for good or for ill, for individuals with disabilities. The attachment is a publication of NDRN which discusses the issues which are of concern to disability rights advocacy organizations. Click here to view the "Guide to the Affordable Care Act"
IPAS wants to encourage individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their family members or guardians, to call IPAS if you are experiencing problems securing appropriate special education services or are being suspended or expelled due to disability, are being secluded or restrained in the school setting, are being discriminated against due to disability, or are having Medicaid waiver services inappropriately reduced. IPAS may be able to help you by assigning an advocate or attorney to represent you. Call IPAS at 1-800-622-4845 and speak to an intake/referral specialist. IPAS is here to help you.
Public Policy Advocacy Opportunity Available - Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission (IPAS) is always looking for new Commission and Mental Illness Advisory Council (MIAC) members. Members must have a commitment to promoting the legal and civil rights of people with developmental disabilities, mental illness or other disabilities, and to the cause of protecting and promoting those individuals’ rights to make their own choices. Persons interested in applying for consideration should contact Karen Pedevilla, Education and Training Director, at 1-800-622-4845, ext. 452, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to view a brochure that gives more information on both the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission and Mental Illness Advisory Council.
IPAS can be reached at (800) 622-4845 or by TTY at (800) 838-1131.