Friday, April 24, 2015

Planning for #Indiana's Future"

Family Voices Indiana shares this opportunity from the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services:

The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) invites DDRS providers, stakeholders, families and participants to attend a presentation titled “Planning for Indiana’s Future,” on April 28, 2015 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Indiana State Library located at 315 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis or via a live webinar.

At the presentation DDRS and our partners at the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) will provide national and federal perspectives for our stakeholders of state service systems for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Indiana is at a pivotal stage: having closed our institutions, we now want to think about what we want our community service systems to look like in the future.

This forum will be an opportunity for interested individuals to help identify key priorities for Indiana’s community service systems moving forward. Webinar information and attendance registration is available in the April 16, 2015 announcement on the DDRS’ Announcements page.

We invite you to join us as we begin discussions about exciting systems changes in Indiana!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mental Health Parity

Family Voices Indiana shares the following resource from NDNRC:

Do you want to learn more about the treatment for mental health and substance use? Parity in qualified health plans for the treatment of mental health and substance use is a critical area when reviewing plan options for consumers living with mental illness.  This week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a report on mental health and substance use parity entitled "A Long Road Ahead: Achieving True Parity in Mental Health and Substance Use Care." The report includes findings of a survey and five policy recommendations to help bring parity to qualified health plans. To read our news item which includes a link to download a copy of the report, click here.

Some other valuable NDNRC resources on mental illness and plan parity are our “Fact Sheet # 7: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity” and our population specific fact sheet “What to Know When Assisting a Consumer with Mental Illness.” The NAMI report as well as other resources on mental and behavioral health can also be found on our Resources & Links page under "Enrollment Resources – Mental Health and Behavioral Health."

Legislative Update #INLeg

Family Voices Indiana shares the following from Indiana Coalition for Human Services:

A quick update on some priorities of ICHS members in the Indiana General Assembly.
  • HB1196 - CHINS and Delinquent Child Dual Determination has passed out of the House and Senate with slight differences.  Conference committee TBA.
  • HB1265 - Designation of Caregiver for Patients will be heard April 8 in Senate Health & Provider Services.
  • HB1269 - Mental Health Matters will be heard in Senate Health & Provider Services on April 8.
  • SB464 - Mental Health Issues up for third reading.
  • SB420 - Developmental Disability Terminology has passed with an amendment in the House. 
April 15 is the deadline for bills on third reading and the General Assembly will adjourn on April 29.

ICHS and Indiana Association of United Ways have partnered to offer a webinar series during the legislative session to keep you informed.  The first intro webinar was recorded in January and highlighted a number of bills that related to human services.  The second, mid-session webinar was recorded March 5 and allowed us to provide detail on bills that are still moving.

The Indiana General Assembly has convened for the 2015 legislative session. Calendars have been posted for the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Tools to help you follow the action at the statehouse this session include:

You can also find information about relevant bills from The Arc of Indiana:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Important Information: Children Under Age 6 Waiting for Family Supports Waiver

Families have been told in the past that a child under 6 can apply for the Family Supports Waiver, but would only be given provisional eligibility until age 6 when an assessment could be done. At that time, the original application date was to be honored for the waiting list. However, with the shorter wait times for the waiver, children under 6 are potentially being "targeted" for services now. 

Families are encouraged to contact BDDS and ensure their child is on the waiting list for the Family Supports Waiver if they applied prior to age 6.

You can find a list of BDDS offices here:

Feel free to contact us is you need more information or would like to apply for a waiver:  317 944 8982

From The Arc of Indiana:

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has removed a barrier for families of young children applying for the Family Supports Waiver. Children under the age of 6 can now apply for the FSW and be added to the waiting list, rather than having to wait until the age of six to officially be added to the waiting list. This change provides a clearer and less confusing path for young children and their families to receive the supports they need.

#Transition: Planning for #Employment

As part of the IEP, the team should be considering what life after high school might look like for your
child. One of those considerations, if appropriate, should be employment. As the case conference committee identifies specific employment related transition goals, it is important to consider some of the following:
  • helping the student learn about and explore career options;
  • discussing the wishes of the student and family regarding the type of employment that may be desired at the conclusion of formal education;
  • including a variety of work-related experiences such as community job training as part of the transition IEP;
  • discussing the supports that may be needed to work in the type of jobs in which the student may be interested; and
  • exploring school experiences and activities that might assist the student in acquiring desired skills.
As with many things, the earlier you start this planning, the easier it will probably be. A good starting point is to build on your child’s strengths and interests. Career exploration might include volunteer positions, internships, or job shadowing. A tool to support person-centered planning in this process can be found here.

There are many skills that will be needed for successful employment: communication, interpersonal, decision-making, and lifelong learning. You can find tip sheets on helping your child develop these skills here and here.

There are several agencies that can help support employment for an individual with special health care needs and/or disabilities:
Independent Living Centers
Indiana Association of People Supporting Employment (APSE)
Vocational Rehabilitation

If you need additional resources, feel free to contact Family Voices Indiana: 317 944 8982

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Information about the #ABLE Act

ABLE accounts:
 Are established in the new Section 529A Qualified ABLE Programs
 Are qualified savings accounts that receive preferred federal tax treatment
 Enable eligible individuals to save for disability related expenses
 Are NOT yet available, and there are still some unknowns
 Assets in and distributions for qualified disability expenses will be disregarded or given special treatment in determining eligibility for most federal means-tested benefits

The following slides (embedded) explain the ABLE Act in more detail.

This webinar was recorded and the materials will be
placed on the National Disability Institute website at

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DDRS Waiver Renewal and Amendment

To: Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services Providers
From: Nicole Norvell, Director, Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services 
Re: Wavier Renewal and Amendment 
Date: March 24, 2015 

The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) submitted an application for renewal of the expiring Family Supports Waiver (FSW) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in December of 2014. 

CMS has responded to DDRS with questions regarding some of the content of the renewal that the Division will need additional time to review, beyond the standard 90 day period for CMS approval. Therefore, a three month extension was requested of the current waiver to allow for uninterrupted services to continue beyond the expiration date of March 31, 2015. CMS has granted this extension and the new date by which the proposed changes within the FSW renewal will be implemented, pending CMS approval, will be July 1, 2015. 

Programmatic functions will continue to be consistent during this three month extension as individuals will continue to be granted entrance into the FSW from either a priority category or from the FSW waitlist. Additionally, due to similar questions posed by CMS for the Community Integration and Habilitation (CIH) waiver amendment, the effective date of that amendment was revised to July 1, 2015. DDRS will continue to work with CMS to gain approval for both the FSW renewal and CIH amendment to ensure that high quality services continue to be delivered through both waivers. We appreciate your continued partnership and patience as we work to gain approval for these much needed changes. 

Questions about the extension or the renewal and amendment can be emailed to .