|Help Save Disability Programs with Data Driven Advocacy
As you know, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are under direct attack in Congress. Meanwhile, assaults on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and funding for all discretionary programs (such as education, housing, employment, and transportation) are in the works.
The Arc's network of advocates are hard at work right now fighting to protect Medicaid and the ACA by contacting Members of Congress, governors, and state legislators, attending town hall meetings, and getting media coverage. But our battle plan has another other important dimension - data collection. We use data to help tell the story of what people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) need and what they are actually getting to live meaningful lives in the community. Such data provides objective information that policy makers use to help form their positions and can use in press releases, floor statements, and media interviews, among other things.
The Arc is again conducting the Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota. We first conducted this online survey in 2010 which sought to capture perceptions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families on a range of life-span issues. The results of the 2010 survey provided unique insight into the growing gaps in education, employment, and other life-span activities that exist between persons with disabilities and their non-disabled peers, which has informed further dialogue and policy changes at the Federal and State levels.
We are inviting people aged 18 years or older who provide primary paid/unpaid and frequent support to a family member or friend with an I/DD living in the United States and its Territories to provide feedback on their experiences. The deadline to complete the survey is March 30.
Learn how JAA was born! Watch the video from the Community Shark Tank program in June 2016.
The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey is excited to announce the launch of another Shark Tank initiative. On Feb. 1, we launched a special needs website with resources for everyone called the Jewish Abilities Alliance of South Jersey (JAA).
It was identified through the Community Shark Tank program that special needs families spend, on average, 11 hours a week researching information and resources for their loved ones. This is valuable time that should be spent together as a family. The goal of the new JAA website is to serve as a resource provider directory, a community calendar, and a way for families to connect in our community, thus reducing needless time spent researching.
Also, as part of this initiative, we are excited to announce that Jennifer Arey has joined the Federation staff. She will serve as the Special Needs Navigator connecting families to resources—and to each other. If a family is in crisis and doesn’t know where to go for help, or can’t find a specific resource, we encourage them to reach out to her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (856) 673-2554.
This initiative would not be possible without funding from the Community Shark Tank and the vision of the Special Needs Coalition of Southern New Jersey, now called the Jewish Abilities Alliance. Local organizations and community members are encouraged to access the website to enter special needs events on the community calendar and contact Jennifer with resources to add to the directory.
Visit the new site at jewishsouthjersey.org/jaa. You can also join our new Facebook group, Jewish Abilities Alliance of South Jersey, to keep up to date on events and connect with other special needs families.