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The Arc of PA Responds to Finalized 2022-2023 PA State Budget

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Breaking News

Below is The Arc of Pennsylvania’s press release regarding to the passage of the 2022-2023 PA State Budget and its impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), their families, and caregivers.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sherri Landis, Executive Director
Ph: 717-234-2621; Email: slandis@thearcpa.org

(Download the Press Release PDF)

HARRISBURG, PA (July 14, 2022) — The finalized 2022-2023 PA State $45.2 billion budget, unveiled on July 7, 2022, is the initial step the Commonwealth needs to take to invest in the Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) community and the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) system that supports them in their communities.

Executive Director, Sherri Landis states that, “We appreciate the General Assembly passing a budget that reflected many of the Governor’s priorities for HCBS; however, we are disappointed that additional dollars were not allocated to specifically address the Direct Support Professional (DSP) crisis that self-advocates, families, and providers have been advocating for these past months.”

This budget does include:

  • Provides $18.8 million towards removing 732 individuals with IDD off the Waiting List and into the Community Living waiver and 100 individuals with IDD off the Waiting List and into the Consolidated waiver;
  • Provides funding to implement the new rates for IDD services ODP recommended through the rate refresh process earlier this year;
  • Provides funding to continue the 3% increase to Early Intervention B-3 provider rates implemented in July 2021 for the FY 2022-2023;
  • Increases Special Education by $100 million; and
  • Creates a HCBS Augmentation Fund in which the savings from the closure of PA’s remaining state center will be utilized to fund HCBS supports for people with IDD, specifically DSP rates, housing, and the Waiting List.

The 2022-2023 State Budget has serious gaps in funding for the IDD community. Most critically, this budget does not provide additional funding to further raise the Direct Support Professional rates in order for providers to be competitive with private companies to recruit and retain DSP staff. The outbreak of the pandemic exacerbated the already present DSP crisis facing the Commonwealth as well as the effects of the great resignation and rising inflation. The greatest impact of this staffing crisis is to the people with disabilities and their families. Throughout the Commonwealth, there are thousands of families are severely impacted by this crisis.

Landis states, “After years of underinvestment, now is the time for Pennsylvania to continue to step up and ensure that the HCBS is robust and provides the supports people with IDD want and need to live in their communities. It is especially critical that our Direct Support Professionals are compensated at a wage that reflects the value and dedication of their work to support people with IDD in the community.

For 72 years, The Arc of Pennsylvania has worked to ensure that children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive the supports and services they need, are included in their community, and have control over their own lives. The non-profit organization is part of The Arc US and is affiliated with local chapters covering 50 counties representing 13,000 members across the Commonwealth. The Arc of Pennsylvania advocates for quality services and to protect the rights of our constituency, providing information and resources to families, and increasing public awareness.

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Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC, and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

NEW Module Just Arrived - Trauma-Informed Care. Visit our E-Learning Module Series. This series provides information and strategies for teachers, families, and paras to support the education of all students.

The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. In order to receive certification, participants must attend a 3 day, in-person training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Arc Discovery Employment Transitions (ADEPT) is The Arc of Pennsylvania’s customized employment program. The Arc of Pennsylvania supports individuals with significant impact of disability to seek and maintain customized employment in their community. As a result, The Arc of Pennsylvania’s consultants are trained and nationally certified by Marc Gold & Associates, a national leader in customized employment, to provide Discovery, Customized Employment Job Development, and Systematic Instruction to individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania who are seeking employment. In addition to providing customized employment services, The Arc of Pennsylvania hosts several certification courses with Marc Gold & Associates for individuals and organizations interested in national certification in Discovery, Job Development, and Systematic Instruction.

Include Me is a new model for inclusive education and gaining meaningful employment for Pennsylvania’s students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Pennsylvania and Include Me believe all individuals with significant impact of developmental and intellectual disability deserve equal educational and competitive employment rights. Our mission, build and strengthen the inclusive education capacity for all public-school students, and discover meaningful employment opportunities meeting Pennsylvania employee and employer needs. Include Me strives to ensure all impacted students have equal access to all aspects of life and the community throughout their lifespan.

Include Me is an initiative that was part of the agreement on final terms between the plaintiffs and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the Gaskin Settlement Agreement. We were initially assigned to districts with the lowest inclusion rates but after the initial success, we have grown in reputation among school districts. We now operate on a volunteer basis and serve districts that volunteer for our services. Include Me initially started as a School Age program but we have since expanded to include a PreSchool program and now we are excited to begin offering our transition-age services to help find a path to customized employment for students transitioning out of high school.

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