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Showing posts from September 16, 2018

Public Comments Can Blunt Attacks on the Affordable Care Act & Medicaid

from NHELP:
by Hayley Penanon September 06, 2018 In recent months public comments on government attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid have helped to counter and slow the Trump administration’s agenda to weaken both health care laws that are vital to tens of millions of people from coast to coast. For example, public comments recently helped to protect the ACA’s essential health benefits (EHBs.) Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) changed the selection process for states to update their EHB base benchmark plans. Benchmark plans set the floor for what coverage health insurance plans in the individual and small group market, including the ACA Marketplace, must provide in their plans. They also ensure that individuals enrolling in these plans get quality affordable coverage. The new selection process provides significant leeway for states to change their EHB benchmark plan minimum requirements in ways that could harm consumers. Tw…

Information about Play Therapy

This information addresses the most frequently asked questions about play therapy, a mental health modality practiced by thousands of licensed mental health professionals within and outside of the United States. Much of the information provided is descriptive and foundational to play therapy. Glossary of Play Therapy Terms,initiates the development of a play therapy specific glossary of terms (Schaefer & Peabody). Why Play?In recent years a growing number of noted mental health professionals have observed that play is as important to human happiness and well-being as love and work (Schaefer, 1993). Some of the greatest thinkers of all time, including Aristotle and Plato, have reflected on why play is so fundamental in our lives. The following are some of the many benefits of play that have been described by play theorists. 

Play is the child's language and ...

Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. It expands self-expression,…

Graduation Guidance

Many of you have been asking about Indiana Diploma Decisions, the guide for teachers and families from the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center, originally published in 2015. Because of the extent of the changes to the Certificate of Completion, graduation pathways, and diploma options, the guide was in need of an update, so you won’t find it among our resources on the INSTRC website. We’ve taken it down while INSTRC and DOE staff work on a new model. It may takes us some time, so please be patient. In the meantime, we recognize that teachers and special education departments around the state need resources.  Here’s a compilation of information from DOE that may help.  Print and post! We promise: You’ll be the first to know when Indiana Diploma Decisions is back online!
Graduation Pathways (includes link to High School Diploma resources):https://www.doe.in.gov/graduation-pathways Graduation Requirements/Flowchart 2019-2022https://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/student-ass…

Legislative Update

Senate Bill on Pharmacy "Gag Clauses" By a vote of 98-2, the Senate passed legislation to ban pharmacy "gag clauses," so that pharmacists are not prohibited from telling customers that they can save money on prescriptions by paying with cash instead of insurance. Such gag clauses are sometimes included in contracts between pharmacies and insurers or pharmacy benefit managers. President Trump had tweeted his support for the measure. See Senate Passes Massive Opioid Package, Bill To Ban Gag Clauses (Fierce Healthcare, 9/18/18). A similar bill was marked up in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on September 7. Bipartisan Senate Measure on "Surprise Medical Bills" The Hill newspaper reports that a bipartisan group of Senators has developed a draft measure to crack down on surprise medical charges from providers outside an insurance plan's network. The bill would: prevent an out-of-network from charging additional costs for emergency services; require he…

Indiana Disability Rights Launches Supported Decision-Making Website

September 17, 2018     By Dawn Adams, Executive Director This past summer, Indiana Disability Rights had the privilege of representing Jamie Beck in terminating her guardianship in favor of using a supported decision-making agreement, a historic first for Indiana. This agreement allows Ms. Beck to make her own decisions about how she will live her life and provides documentation of specific individuals she has chosen to provide support in specific areas such as finance and medical decisions. But, at the end of the day, Jamie gets to make the final decision. But what is Supported Decision-Making (SDM)? Just as wheelchairs can be used to accommodate people who need help with mobility, SDM is a way to accommodate the decision-making process for those who need some assistance. Think about the decisions you make in your everyday life: what to wear in the morning, where to eat lunch today, or whether or not you should buy a new car. You probably quickly decide on your own what you will wear…

New CCDF Policies for Clear Suspension & Expulsion Policies

New CCDF Policies Call for Clear Suspension and Expulsion Policies


This update focuses on ensuring that all CCDF-eligible programs in Indiana have clear policies regarding suspension and expulsion. These rule requirements aim to ensure positive social-emotional growth in all early education settings.
Requirements for all CCDF-Eligible Programs:
Early education programs that are eligible for CCDF vouchers must have a policy on suspension and expulsion. Programs must share policies before families enroll. Additionally, all programs should update families on their policies at this time.
These policies have to promote social-emotional growth. They need to include age-appropriate positive behavior supports. Programs also have to limit – or eliminate – any disciplinary approaches that focus on excluding children. That includes expulsion, suspension and other practices that remove children from learning.
Program policies must clearly define a process for managing challenging behaviors. For be…

Changes to CCDF

On October 1, 2018, Indiana will make a number of changes to the CCDF program. These updates are the result of new federal requirements. Many changes aim to make the program more family-friendly.


CCDF Eligibility:


In Indiana, CCDF eligibility is changing due to new federal rules. These rules focus on creating policies that support families and ensure consistent care. As a CCDF family, these rules may impact services and outreach you receive. Overall, they make CCDF a more family-friendly experience.
CCDF co-payments can’t go up during one eligibility period.


Your CCDF co-payments may not be raised during the eligibility period (53 weeks).


Example: A family gets a new job making more money. Even with the increased income, CCDF co-payments do not go up during that eligibility period. So, the current co-pay stays the same until re-determination.
Services do not stop immediately at age 13.


Children turning 13 years old during the eligibility period can stay on the CCDF program through the …

Child Care Development Fund program

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) helps low-income families get child care. The CCDF federal program helps families so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. It aims to increase the availability, affordability and quality of child care.




Considering your child care options? Check out these resources that help you make the most of your CCDF voucher.

Learn more about finding quality care.


Indiana child care search supports can help you find a program that fits your family needs, including location, fees, preferred Paths to QUALITY level (reminder: higher levels mean higher CCDF reimbursement rates). Online, visit Child Care Finder or start a chat conversation below. On the phone, call Brighter Futures Indiana at 1-800-299-1627.
Discover what quality care looks like in Indiana.


Hoosier families have lots of child care and early learning programs to choose from. Learn more about quality and safety in those settings, Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY program, and t…

10 Tips for Special Education Advocates

 by Pat Howey, Advocate
Remember, your goal is to assist parents in achieving an appropriate education for their child.
1. Good advocates facilitate the IEP process. Advocates must set an example for the entire IEP Team. They must be a role model of behavior for the parent. Challenging school experts, demeaning school staff, or being inconsiderate or impolite, will not advance the child’s cause. Your goal is to get better school services for the child. Good advocates ask questions and make valuable suggestions to advocate for a child. It is okay to disagree. It is not okay to put down or verbally attack someone.

2. Good advocates know the child and understand the disability. Do your homework before you attempt to advocate for the child. Research the child’s disability. Be ready with ideas about instructional methods that are research-based and peer-reviewed. Meet the child and the family in the home environment. Put off making recommendations until you fully understand how the child’s disa…

Congressman Carson Introduces Legislation to Improve Rare Disease Treatments

Currently, almost 7,000 rare diseases affect nearly one in 10 Americans nationwide, over half of whom are children. Unfortunately, many rare diseases and conditions, which affect small patient populations fewer than 200,000, are serious, life-threatening, or lack an effective treatment.

“Rare diseases impact patients and families in Indianapolis and across the country, and too often they are unable to find a treatment, a cure, or even an accurate diagnosis,” said Congressman AndrĂ© Carson. “While each patient is unique, Congress can do more to address many of the challenges they face, raise awareness and ultimately help patients get the treatment and care they need.” Congressman AndrĂ© Carson and Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) introduced the Rare disease Advancement, Research, and Education (RARE) Act, which aims to address many of the common challenges faced by rare disease patients and their families. “Constituents and their families who are affected by rare diseases always emphasize t…