June 18, 2020
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The Arc Condemns Racism and Violence Against Black Communities

On June 2, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, The Arc US released a statement condemning the ongoing violence and police brutality against black people in our country. In the statement, The Arc's CEO Peter Berns stated, "The Arc renews its own commitment to social justice and the dismantling of the systems of oppression and discrimination that further this violence and neglect."   
Read the full statement.

Sherri Landis, Executive Director of The Arc of Pennsylvania calls on Pennsylvania to “review our current policies and procedures to assure that people of color and other marginalized groups have fair access to home and community based services across the state.  We must assure that all services are provided in a manner that is culturally competent to meet the needs of the person and their family.  We must listen to people who have experienced racism and discrimination in order to learn how we can do better.”  

Stay Informed

COVID-19 Updates & Resources

Office of Developmental Programs Numbers
As of 6/10/2020 - 873 persons receiving Home and Community Based Services have confirmed Coronavirus.
116 people have died.
1119 staff providing HCBS have confirmed Coronavirus.

Advocacy Groups Celebrate Gov. Wolf’s Intellectual Disability/Autism Funding
Read article here.

As part of the appropriation of CARES Act funds given to Pennsylvania, Act 24 designated $260 million for the Intellectual Disability Community Waiver Program. This appropriation was a much-needed investment for providers of Home and Community Based Services. Currently, more than 50,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities or autism receive supports and services in their community.  On Monday, June 15th, Governor Wolf and Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller gave a press conference on how those funds would be distributed. Here are some highlights:

  • $90 million to providers of residential, respite, and shift nursing services;
  • $80 million to providers of Community Participation Support services for 120 days of retainer payments, covering operations from March through June 2020; and
  • $90 million to providers of in-home and community, supported and small group employment, companion, and transportation trip services for 120 days of retainer payments, covering operations from March through June 2020.

  Check out The Arc of Pennsylvania's Website here for additional COVID-19 resources. 

Updated resources are added as they become available.

National News 

OCR Resolves Complaints - Reasonable Access to Support Persons in Hospital Settings During COVID 
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it has reached an Early Case Resolution (ECR) with the State of Connecticut after the state issued an executive order regarding non-visitation policies for short-term hospitals, outpatient clinics, and outpatient surgical facilities to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied reasonable access to needed support persons.  Click here for more information.     

Pennsylvania News

PA Budget - Specific Investments in Children Impacting OCDEL
The budget just passed by the state legislature is largely level with the prior year but is initially enacted for just five months. The enacted budget amounts represent 5/12ths or 42 percent of the fiscal year. The primary, but not only exception, is for K-12 and Higher Education which were appropriated a full 12-month budget so Pennsylvania schools can adequately plan for a full academic year.  

  • Early Intervention - Early Intervention Birth-3 (supplemental increase of $12.839 million; total 2019-20 appropriation of $174.271 million AND 5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $78.870 million) to serve an estimated 51,900 children.  If the 5-month enacted budget for 2020-21 is annualized to $189.288 million, it would be an increase of $15.017 million over 2019-20. In 2020-21, increased state funding will support services for an additional 3,000 infants and toddlers.  
  • Home Visiting and Family Support Services - Community-Based Family Centers (5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $7.733 million)
  • Nurse Family Partnership (5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $5.491 million). If the 5-month enacted budgets for 2020-21 for Community-Based Family Centers and Nurse Family Partnerships are annualized, both budgets would be level with 2019-20 at $18.558 million and $13.178 million, respectively.  During 2020-21, DHS (Department of Human Services) plans to release a competitive Request for Application (RFA) to recompete for all federal and state Evidence-based Home Visiting (EBHV) and Family Support Program funding. New grants awarded through this RFA are anticipated to begin July 1, 2021.
  • PA Pre-K Counts (level funded; total 2020-21 appropriation of $217.284 million) To serve approximately 25,300 children.
  • Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (level funded, total 2020-21 appropriation of $64.178 million) To serve an approximately 6,500 children.
  • Early Intervention - Preschool Early Intervention, 3-5 (5-month 2020-21 budget of $135.625 million) to serve an additional 2,000 children or 61,000 total children.  If the 5-month enacted budget for 2020-21 is annualized to $325.5 million, it would be an increase of $11 million over 2019-20. In 2020-21, increased state funding will support services for an additional 2,000 preschoolers.  
  • COVID-19 Funding - The CARES Act awarded Pennsylvania $106 million to support childcare.  The administration and legislature agreed on a formula to distribute $51 million in a first wave as childcare providers begin to reopen across the state. Funds will be delivered to all eligible licensed providers via the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) in a tiered distribution that considers provider type and the relative capacity of the provider to serve their communities with add-ons for CCW enrollment and operations in childcare deserts.  $55 million will be available for future distribution. 
  • The Corona Virus Relief Act awarded Pennsylvania $4.2 billion of which:  $116 million dedicated for childcare will be distributed upon the completion of an evaluation currently underway on the impact of COVID-19 on childcare.  $9 million dedicated for Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program will be distributed to support increased program costs related to COVID-19.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act increased the federal share of Medicaid eligible expenses by 6.2 percent, effective January 1 through June 30, 2020, resulting in increased federal funding of which:  $3.2 million was dedicated for Early Intervention
  • $60,000 was dedicated for Nurse Family Partnership

Legislative Updates (From Katie Yost) 
  • House Bill 1910: Representative Dan William's legislation has been amended to require police officers be trained to recognize and respond with awareness to individuals with mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism. This legislation would require police officers to have training in de-escalation techniques and services that are available for individuals with mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism. This legislation is currently in the House Rules Committee.
  • House Bill 1363: Representative Murt’s Bill of Rights for Individuals with Intellectual Disability or Autism legislation was voted out of the House of Representative unanimously (202-0). It was referred to Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  In addition, this legislation requires the Department of Human Services to develop and submit a plan to address the waiting list for community based services for people with intellectual disabilities or autism. 
  • House Bill 1270: Representative Toohil’s legislation to expand tracking for Early Intervention Services to include children of mothers who have postpartum depression.  The bill has referred to Appropriations committee.
  • House Resolution 836: is a resolution that would end Governor Wolf’s Emergency Order Declaration that he continued on June 3rd for another 90 days. The resolution passed in both the House and the Senate on June 9, 2020; however, there is now a legal question on if Governor Wolf must abide by the resolution or has the ability to veto it. It will be a decision the Courts will most likely need to decide on. 

Office of Developmental Programs Announcements &


20-068: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--Applying Department of Health Testing Guidance for Long Term Care Facilities' Residents and Healthcare Personnel to Community and Life Sharing Homes

20-069: 2020-2021 Waivers Cap Exceptions Guidance for the Person/Family Directed Support and Community Living Waivers

20-070: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Funding for Providers of ODP Waiver Services 

20-071: Pennsylvania ODP – Provider Staff COVID-19 Tracking Forms

20-072: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) At-a-Glance Reopening Guide by Phase 

20-073: New Procedure Codes for AAW Behavioral Specialist Services

20-074: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--Community Participation Support (CPS) Retainer Payments Update

20-075: Extension of Annual Practicum Deadline for Medication Administration Trainer Recertification

Take Action & "Learn More" Opportunities

The Arc PA Releases New E-Learning Module 

Find e-learning module here
Find Miss Jennifer Live on Facebook here.

July 13-15, 2020 - Making Employment Work ACRE Basic Certification Training.  The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training.  Registration: Register for the training here.  If an agency is interested in registering extra staff please contact Anthony Chan at

The Virtual 2020 Pennsylvania Community of Practice Transition Conference  Each year the PA Community of Practice Transition Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders to share information, explore resources, and gain knowledge regarding successful practices in secondary transition.

Positive Approaches Journal Volume 9, Issue 1 Now Available!  The theme of this issue is Navigating the Justice System: Considerations, Best Practices, and Points to Ponder

Family Forum with PA Family Network By Families For Families - Join other families and individuals with disabilities to discuss the current impact of the Coronavirus in our lives. Get the Latest updates - Answers to your questions - Discuss concerns - Network with other families.

Learn about the PAABLE Savings Program - The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.

VTT-VOH June 2020 Schedule Update - Pre-registration for each session is required.

We Want to Hear from You!  Pennsylvania Department of Aging Seeks Community & Stakeholder Input for State Plan on Aging 2020 –2024.  The Pennsylvania Department of Aging requests the assistance of community members and stakeholders who are passionate about the needs of older adults in helping to shape the priorities for the State Plan on Aging. Adults of all ages are invited to take part in a 5-10 minute online survey. Adults over 60 years old are especially encouraged to participate. Your input will help build an innovative and responsive plan for the next four years. To complete the survey, follow the link below. To participate by phone, call the Department of Aging at: (717) 783-1550.  Take Survey here.  

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education - Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Transition Services Stakeholder Forum on June 24, 2020, 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  During this stakeholder forum, interested parties will provide input into the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, through the Bureau of Special Education (BSE). Public comment will be taken between Wednesday, June 10, 2020 and close of business on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 using the following link
On-line Registration
All participants should register for this PaTTAN-sponsored event by visiting the website at:   

nTIDE (National Trends in Disability Employment) May 2020 Jobs Report.  Read it here

Learn More...
Preparing to go into the CommunityIndividual Transition Guide.  Read full article
4 Ways People Process Information During a Crisis - In a crisis, affected people take in information, process information, and act on information differently than they would during non-crisis times.  Read full article.

Economic Impact Payment Guidance - As we continue to receive questions related to participants and economic impact payments, we wanted to be sure you saw the recently updated Government Benefits and Representative Payee Services During the COVID-19 Emergency document.  Read full article.
Changing Internal Narratives - As Pennsylvania phases into reopening meaning more interactions with others, people may observe that there are some people that are not following recommendations aimed at decreasing the spread of COVID-19.  Read full article.
Good News During COVID-19 - Inspired by news articles like this and Some Good NewsRead full article.

Apps for Mindfulness - There are so many useful apps out there and one of the positive outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic is the creation of additional, useful apps.  Read full article
Autism Research Institute COVID-19 ResourcesCoping with the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Read full article.

Using Clear Face Masks to Facilitate Communication - While it is essential that we continue to wear masks to protect each other from COVID-19, there are many individuals who may find it challenging to wear one.  Read full article.
Updated CDC Guidelines for Mitigation - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated existing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Read full article.
AIDinPA Family Transition & Resource Guides - Many things have changed as a result of COVID-19, and will continue to change in the coming weeks and months.  Read full article  
Wearing Masks When Wearing a Mask is a Challenge - Today we wanted to share an interesting article about a mother and her son's experience in meeting state orders to wear masks when in public.  Read full article

More Resources for Dealing With Anxiety - The Marginal Gains Handbook: Ideas to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Coronavirus to explore the theme of Allowing Time For Anxiety.   Read full article
Communication During Risk - This series highlights Crisis + Emergency Risk Communication’s (CERC) Psychology of a Crisis resource.  Read full article.
Transitioning Into Green Phase - As some PA counties move to the Green Phase, it is important to remember we must still be vigilant in following CDC and DOH guidance to mitigate COVID-19 spread. While it is essential that we continue to wear masks to protect each other from COVID-19, there are many individuals who may find it challenging to wear one.  Read full article.
CDC Releases Guidance for Individuals with Disabilities - Today we wanted to share newly created resources from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)  Read full article
Showing Community AppreciationFeeling like you want to contribute to show the community how thankful you are for all they are doing during this time?  Read full article
Mental States in a Crisis - (CERC) Psychology of a Crisis resource.  Read full article.
Taking Care of Yourself and Others During Times of Uncertainty - As the country responds to current events around the importance of equality for all, you may be thinking about how to support individuals in processing the information and reacting in a way that is meaningful to them.  Read full article.

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: PA Disability Weekly Meeting, Coalition for Inclusive Community, Disability Integration Task Force, PA Schools Work Mobilization Committee, PIE Policy Call/PA Disabilities Planning Council, Technology Task Force, National State Chapter Executives Monthly Call, SAGA and various meetings with local chapters & executives.   

Katie Yost, Director of Government & Chapter Relations:  Various virtual meetings with the PA House and Senate, PA Developmental Disabilities/Policy Information Exchange, Coalition for Inclusive Community, Disability Integration Task Force, PIE Policy Call, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Task Force, & PA Schools Work Mobilization Committee.
To view archived copies of In Touch:
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The Arc of Pennsylvania
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Lemoyne, PA 17043
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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