Thursday, November 3, 2011
The Arc of Indiana's 2011 Conference & Appreciation Luncheon
We are living in times of great economic uncertainty. People are facing unprecedented challenges not seen in several decades. In Indiana, over 20,000 individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities are on a wait list for critical services. That wait list is well over a decade long. A person with ID/DD who applies for services today will most likely not eligible until the year 2022 or beyond. Most of those currently receiving services through the Medicaid Waiver Program have seen their budgets cut significantly, often resulting in a loss of important services. Provider agencies face an incredibly difficult balancing act, struggling to maintain quality services and financial solvency.
On Tuesday of this week I had the privilege of attending The Arc of Indiana's 2011 Conference & Appreciation Luncheon. Simply put, the staff at The Arc of Indiana are some of finest folks I have have come to know. They are smart, creative, progressive, and forward-thinking. At this year's conference they unveiled the transformational plan, "Blueprint for Change," the next step in the Pathways to Empowerment Campaign. The "Blueprint for Change" is the result of several months of hard work. The Arc of Indiana did a marvelous job of bringing together leaders in the field of intellectual/developmental disabilities (across Indiana and the country). This resulted in the formulation of five key principals that serve to transform an outdated and ineffective service model. The Arc also conducted forums across Indiana with people with disabilities & their families to gather their input on these key principals.
The "Blueprint for Change" is based on the notion that it is possible to build a better world for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in spite of the tough times we're living in. We can do better. I encourage you to check out The Arc of Indiana's Blueprint for Change Report to learn more. Change is not necessarily an easy thing. But anything worth doing usually isn't.
Having worked in this field for almost 25 years, I have seen a lot of things come and go. In today's world it's so easy to be overwhelmed, frustrated, and even angry at the inequality and unmet needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens, many of whom are often not able to speak for themselves. I left the conference Tuesday motivated, encouraged, and empowered. Yes, we can, and will do better.
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- I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.