December 3, 2020
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Pennsylvania News

The Commonwealth's Budget  
On November 20th, the PA House and Senate passed a 2nd interim state budget, Senate Bill 1350, and Governor Wolf signed the bill into law on November 23rd.   Senate Bill 1350 provides general and additional funds for 7 months, using 2019-2020 funding levels as a base, to fund the budget through June 30, 2021. There were no major cuts to supports and services for individuals with disabilities. The bill also allocated the remaining CARES Act funding of approximately $1.3 billion. To see a breakdown of the budget impact to services for individuals with disabilities here..   

PA Cumulative COVID -19 Data (November 25, 2020)
Statewide Totals ---- Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Enrolled in PA's Home and Community Based Services:

  • Total Individuals COVID-19 Confirmed = 1,481 (+309 since 10/2020)
  • Total Deaths = 136 (+14 since 10/2020)
PA Funding for Students with Disabilities Flatlined as Special Education Expenditures Grew by $2 Billion Over a Decade
For the past decade, expenditures for educating students with disabilities in Pennsylvania have been climbing steadily, mirroring a national trend. For example, school districts across the state boosted their expenditures for special education by $254 million in 2018-19, according to recently released state data on district spending. That was a 5% increase over the prior year.  The Education Law Center and the statewide PA Schools Work campaign have called out this disturbing pattern of unfairness in reports issued in 2018 and 2019. We now can see clearly that this is a steadily worsening, decade-long trend of state neglect of these critical needs.  Read the full article and access data here.

2020 Child Care Regulation Changes Training for Child Care Providers and Question and Answer (Q&A) Sessions
The Child Care Facility Regulations were approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) on Oct. 15, 2020, and will take effect Dec. 13, 2020.  To support child care programs in their understanding of these new regulations, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) will be sharing the updated Certification Regulations Training Video for Child Care providers. Read more.

Legislative Updates (From Katie Yost) 

New Legislative Session Begins
As of December 1, 2020, the PA House and Senate begins a new legislative session. Legislators who retired or who did not win their re-election are officially done. Swearing in day for the 2021-2022 Legislative Session will be January 5th, 2021.
Senate Democrats Elect Leadership
The Democrat Senate members voted to elect their new leadership team for the 2021-2022 legislative session. The following leaders were selected:

  • Sen. Jay Costa (Allegheny) – Minority Leader
  • Sen. Anthony Williams (Philadelphia) – Minority Whip
  • Sen. Vincent Hughes (Philadelphia) – Minority Appropriations Chairman
  • Sen. Wayne Fontana (Allegheny) – Caucus Chair
  • Sen. Maria Collett (Bucks) – Caucus Secretary
  • Sen. Katie Muth (Chester) – Policy Committee Chair

Election News

  • On November 3, 2020, the country held the 2020 General Election. Former Vice-President Joe Biden secured the nomination for President of the United States and won the state of Pennsylvania. The Electoral College meets on December 14th to cast their votes, officially naming the next President of the United States.
  • Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation has not changed as all 18 incumbents to the U.S. House of Representatives won re-election. The delegation remains split with 9 Democrats and 9 Republicans.
  • In the PA House and Senate, House Republicans flipped four seats, including Minority Leader Frank Dermody’s seat; House Democrats flipped one seat; and Senate Republicans and Democrats each flipped one seat. At this time, the race for PA Senate District 45 is still being decided; incumbent Senator Jim Brewster is leading challenger Nicole Ziccarelli by 89 votes, as of Wednesday morning, according to PA Department of State.



Office of Developmental Programs

Announcements & Communications

20-106 REISSUE: ODP Non-Residential Heightened Scrutiny Announcement

20-107: Revised Timeline for Incident Management Bulletin and Enterprise Incident Management (EIM) System Enhancements

20-108: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Version 3: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Office of Developmental Programs' (ODP) Requirements During the COVID-19 Pandemic

20-109: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Guidance for Providing the Life Sharing Service During the COVID-19 Pandemic

20-068 UPDATE: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Applying Pennsylvania Department of Health Testing and Personal Protective Equipment Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities’ Residents and Health Care Personnel to Community and Life Sharing Homes

An Update on COVID-19 and Holiday Safety for ODP Staff and Contractors 

Thresholds for Community Spread Report

ODP Act 24 Allowable Costs and updated FAQs

Community of Practice for Supporting Families Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-2021 Workplan Now Available

As COVID-19 Cases Reach Critical Levels, Wolf Admin Announces New Mitigation Efforts

ODP Organized Health Care Delivery Systems Training for Supports Coordination Organizations (SCO) Leadership and Administrative Entities (AEs)

Holiday Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Take Action & "Learn More" Opportunities

Take Action Now!

Contact your members of Congress - urge them to:

2. Include the Disability Community in

COVID-19 Relief Bills

Access 2020 The Arc United States - National Convention Sessions

The Arc’s 2020 National Convention provided a unique and unmatched opportunity to connect and learn with advocates, professionals, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.  This year’s virtual format gives you easier access than ever to sessions on employment, education, advocacy, housing, criminal justice, and more. Register below to access archived sessions here or go to  Click on WATCH NOW. 

Check out Day Three's Business Meeting for President Ken Oakes' acceptance speech at 14:50 on the program timeline!

Disability Rights PA - November newsletter here

Self-Determination Housing of PA - December Newsletter here

November Edition of Natural Resources: The November issue of Natural Resources focuses on visual supports. 


Visual Gestural Communication: Module 1 - The Office of Developmental Programs announces publication of the first online Visual Gestural Communication (VGC) training module.  
Employment First Community of Practice Webinar - December 9, 2020, 3:00-4:00 ET -  Topic:  Competitive Integrated Employment in 2020 - Consumer and Provider Perspectives - Register here

Behavioral Support Services Innovation Panels -   

  • Remote Assessment & Data Collection on December 16, 2020 from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM.  Register here.    
  • General Remote Behavioral Support Services on December 22, 2020 from 1:00 PM -2:30 PM.  Register here.   

Join HUNE for Special Education Webinars - Spanish Speaking Available - For more information, please contact:  Lisbeth Little - 215) 425-6203 or

  • December 7, 2020 - Early Intervention Transitions - From 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm.  REGISTER  here.  (English)
  • December 16, 2020 - Transitioning to Life After High School-2020 - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm.  REGISTER here.  (Spanish)  

Top Five Funding Resources for Assistive Technology in Pennsylvania - Wednesday, December 16th, 4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.  Learn about: Creating an assistive technology funding strategy; Choosing a funding resource for your AT in Pennsylvania; How to braid multiple funding resources; Advocating for what you want and need; and Appealing funding denials. Learn more and register:    

PA ABLE Savings Program! A tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses while maintaining government benefits.  Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM :  Employers and HR professionals can participate in an overview webinar about the PA ABLE program.  Offer PA ABLE Savings Program to Your Employees For FREE:  Wednesday, December 9, 2020 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM 

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule - Employment Virtual Focus Groups for individuals and families:  December 4 or 11, 2020   
  • December 4, 2020, Noon - 1:30 p.m.  Facilitated by Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.  REGISTER:  REGISTRATION FORM FOR DECEMBER 4 
  • December 11, 2020, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.  Facilitated by Mary Jones-Furlow, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.  REGISTER: REGISTRATION FORM FOR DECEMBER 11 

Research/New Ideas

2020 COVID-19 Survey of Direct Support Professionals:  The University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals gathered evidence about the experiences of the direct support workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform efforts to better prepare for future waves of the pandemic. 2020 COVID-19 survey of the DSP workforce across the U.S.

Child Well-being - Young Children in Deep Poverty:  Children in deep poverty were the most likely to experience early conditions and circumstances that make them vulnerable to future health, development, and learning problems, according to a recent research, Young Children in Deep Poverty: Racial/Ethnic Disparities and Child Well-Being Compared to Other Income Groups, by the National Center for Children in Poverty. Early conditions and circumstances include, low birth weight, a physical condition or health problem that limits activities, an intellectual disability or developmental delay, participation in early intervention or special education, and less positive behavior.

National Autism Indicators Report: The Complex Health and Health Care of Individuals with Autism - In the recently published sixth report in the National Autism Indicators Report series, researchers from Drexel University’s A. J. Drexel Autism Institute highlight a holistic picture of what health and health care look like across the life course for people on the autism spectrum.  

COVID-19 Case & Mortality Report:  Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities:  The Pandemic has disproportionately affected people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on people with IDD across the United States and to educate key stakeholders to better support people with IDD.  Pennsylvania was involved with this study through Temple University's Institute on Disabilities and PAR.  Read more information here

For Parents
Videos for Parents:  Supporting the learning of children with significant cognitive disabilities:  
A series of videos for parents on various aspects of supporting the learning of children with significant cognitive disabilities at home.
Helping Your Child with Routines at Home
Helping Your Child with the Foundations of Communication at Home
Helping Your Child with Communication at Home
Helping Your Child with Academics



New MYODP Podcast: Making Good Old Fashioned Happiness
Holiday Celebration GuidanceRead full article
How to Store and Wash MasksRead full article
Celebrating Thanksgiving CDC Guidance Read full article
Pressure Injury Prevention Day - November 19 - Read full article

Staying Healthy During the Holidays: ODP encourages you to follow State and CDC recommendations to stay safe during the holiday season 

Things to consider when supporting a Deaf-Blind individual during COVID-19  - This resource is from the Office of Developmental Program's Special Populations and ASERT on things to consider when supporting a Deaf-Blind individual during COVID-19.
Your Voice in Harrisburg 


Upcoming Activities from The Arc of PA Staff:  In the next two weeks, The Arc of PA staff will be participating in these meetings and activities of special interest: 

Sherri Landis, Executive Director: The Arc of PA Strategic Planning, Special Education Stakeholder Coalition, Information Sharing Advisory Committee/Provider Oversight, Racial Equity Workgroup, Coalition for Inclusive Community, PA Schools Work Mobilization, Special Education in Charter Schools Webinar, IDD/Dental Environment Webinar, Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call/PA Disabilities Planning Council, and various meetings with local chapters & executives, 

Katie Yost, Manager of Government & Chapter Relations:  Various virtual meetings with the PA House and Senate, PA Developmental Disabilities/Policy Information Exchange, Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call, PA Schools Work, A Forum on Financial Planning for People with IDD, and the Coalition for Inclusive Community.
To view archived copies of In Touch:
Copyright © 2020 The Arc of Pennsylvania, All rights reserved.
The Arc of Pennsylvania
1007 Mumma Drive, Suite 100
Lemoyne, PA 17043
717.234.2621 | 1-800-692-7258
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The Arc of Pennsylvania 
Serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Sherri Landis, Executive Director
Shirley Keith Knox, LSW, Communications Director, Editor