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Showing posts from December 10, 2017

Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services staff announcement

The Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) has restructured several positions to address and respond to program administration needs. Effective December 18, 2017, the following staffing changes will be implemented: Director of Client ServicesHolly Wimsatt with be assuming her new role as director of client services in BDDS. Holly has been promoted to this revised role to serve as a liaison between BDDS and other partnering agencies who support the needs and services of BDDS program participants. Holly will coordinate efforts and initiatives supporting person-centered thinking and practices and LifeCourse Framework concepts in the processes and procedures implemented by BDDS. This position works very closely, and in conjunction with the director of field operations to ensure efficiencies and operational needs in district offices are balanced with person-centered philosophies and practices.  Holly has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and has been a valuable memb…

Action Alert: We must stop this tax bill

A couple weeks ago, in the dark of night, the United States Senate passed a tax cut bill written by lobbyists and read by only a small handful of lawmakers. Very few Senators even knew what was in the entire bill before they had to vote on it.  
Now the Senate and House have hammered out a deal, reconciling two terrible pieces of legislation, in the cloak of secrecy and with no public meetings.
Here’s what we know about it.
This bill undercuts the accessibility of people with disabilities to affordable, comprehensive health care by repealing the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.  Click here to tell your lawmakers to vote no!
It also contains negative changes or eliminates tax provisions that help people with disabilities find employment and businesses who want to become more accessible. All of these tax provisions help people with disabilities to be fully included in their communities, but they were thrown aside to help the wealthy and corporations get huge tax breaks that the…

Q&A Regarding Shortened School Days Due to Behavior


Q & A from the OSE (Office of Special Education, INDOE), Dr. Pam Wright, Director of Special Education Q: We are seeing an increase of students who are being placed on shortened days, many attending 1-2.5 hours of school per day, due to behavior issues. The school says when the student’s behavior improves, the hours may be increased. In some cases, the students have been on a shortened day for years. Is this practice of shortening the day considered best practice? Is this considered a Research-Based Intervention? With research data showing that only 65% of special education students earn a high school diploma, is it appropriate to be excluding students with disabilities from any portion of the school day? If the schools are required to address the unique needs of the students, academic and functional, how are they doing this when the students aren’t at school for the largest portion of the school days? (This question was posed by IN*SOURCE.) A: A student with a disa…

New Q&A on Free Appropriate Public Education following Supreme Court Decision

Washington — The U.S. Department of Education today released a question-and-answer document supporting the unanimous March 2017 U.S. Supreme Court opinion on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)-related case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District clarifying the scope of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). "The Supreme Court sent a strong and unanimous message: all children must be given an opportunity to make real progress in their learning environment—they cannot simply be passed along from year to year without meaningful improvement," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. "For too long, too many students offered IEPs were denied that chance. I firmly believe all children, especially those with disabilities, must be provided the support needed to empower them to grow and achieve ambitious goals." The Department issued the Q&A document to provide parents, educators and other stakeholders information on the issues addressed…

Changes in required BDDS waiver team meeting and case manager visits

Effective January 1, 2018, the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) will adopt a restructured 90 day visit model for case management.
This proposed model was presented to case managers during the fall 2017 person-centered individualized service plan trainings.

The chart below represents the revised 90 day visit structure for case managers:

Current Minimum Requirements Effective January 1, 2018 Quarterly visits / Face-to-Face Contact • Every 90 Days • One unannounced home visit / year / person • Every 90 Days • One unannounced home visit / year only for individuals residing in provider owned or controlled settings

Team meetings (Annual / NonAnnual) • Every 90 Days • Semi-annually or • When requested by the individual, family, BDDS or other team members

Please note, face-to-face contact and team meeting requirements for individuals with high risk or health needs remain the same.

Additionally, a future presentation or brief web recording of this information will be made a…

Legislative Update

from National FV:
Tax Bill - Repeal of ACA's Individual Mandate and More The House and Senate have each passed a version of a tax bill. Now representatives of the two chambers are meeting in a "conference committee" to negotiate a compromise bill. (Conferees are listed below.) Most of the negotiations will take place behind the scenes, although a formal meeting of the conference committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 13. Each chamber must pass the conference agreement without amendments. These votes are expected to take place either late this week or next week. See This Week: Gop Seeks to Finish Tax Overhaul (The Hill, 12/11/17). The final bill (conference "agreement" or "report") could include any the provisions from the House or Senate bills. The net effect of the final tax bill will vary for each family. Both bills have provisions that would reduce some taxes but increase others. There are, however, some provisions in play that co…

Heart to Heart Conference at disABILITIES Expo

THE DISABILITIES EXPOSaturday, May 12, 2018
10:00AM – 3:00PM
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
4000 Parnell Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana
We look forward to seeing you at the 9th annual disAbilities Expo! This day has been planned just for you with more than 110 exhibitors to make this event a one-stop resource for all types of disability services and products. We hope that you find what you need, and even more importantly, discover new resources to enhance your quality of life. Whether you are an individual with a disability, a family member, friend, caregiver or professional, the disAbilities Expo exists to support your needs. The Expo is also filled with fun and entertaining activities, spectacular adaptive sports exhibitions, musical groups, and special guests making a difference in the disability world. It’s a welcoming environment with so much to see, learn and do. You are sure to be glad you attended. Helping you explore opportunities, expand possibilities and experience everything i…

Lunch and Learn Dec 14 1p: What is Family Voices Indiana?

Join us for a Lunch and Learn! Learn more about what Family Voices Indiana does and what it can offer you.

Choose which way you want to join the event:

1. Join via Website:
on any browser with Flash

2. Join via Phone:
+1 (312) 702-1380
Kansas City
+1 (816) 666-7600
+1 (267) 279-9000

Conference PIN: 697927#

See all numbers:

3. Join via Mobile Application:
Room ID: 558-955-932

Convert start time to your timezone:

Low Income Heating Assistance

Winter weather is here, and many Hoosiers are eligible for energy assistance through the Low Income Heating Assistance Program

Households that qualify for assistance are protected from utility disconnection from Dec. 1 through March 15. To find an energy assistance program that serves your area, visit or call 1-800-382-9895

If you do not qualify, there are still several other ways to manage your bills during the coming months. If you are having difficulty paying your bill, the most important step you need to take is contacting your utility company. Many companies provide services or payment agreements to help lessen the burden.  

For our community, Duke Energy has the following programs available to help customers manage their bill: the Helping Hand Program, budget billing, adjusted due date and third-party notificationIPL also offers several programs including the Energy Assistance Program, payment extensions and budget billing. 

You can also reach out to Indiana 2-1-…