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April 28, 2022
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Pennsylvania News


Gov. Wolf Announces Acting Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter to Depart Wolf Administration, Names Dr. Denise Johnson as New Acting Secretary

Governor Tom Wolf announced that Department of Health Acting Secretary Keara Klinepeter will resign her position with the commonwealth on April 22. The governor also announced his intention to name Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson to serve as Acting Secretary.

Read press release here
 



Gov. Wolf Announces Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega to Depart Wolf Administration, Names Eric Hagarty as New Acting Secretary

Governor Tom Wolf announced that Department of Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega will resign his position with the commonwealth on April 29. The governor also announced his intention to name Eric Hagarty to serve as Acting Secretary.

Read press release here
 



Announcement ELRC 22-02 Child Care Technology Access Award

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development has released the Announcement ELRC 22-02 Child Care Technology Access Award. The purpose of this Announcement is to announce the Child Care Technology Access Award for the purchase of certain identified tools aimed at increasing technology access and supporting business practices and enhance classroom activities. The Child Care Technology Access Award will allow eligible DHS certified child care providers to choose technology tools from the pre-determined list. 
 
In order to provide needed technology assistance, OCDEL, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Key (PA Key), is providing the opportunity for eligible DHS certified child care providers to order certain technology tools. The Child Care Technology Access Award will utilize available federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act (CRRSA) funding. This one-time award will provide much needed technology access to further support child care businesses. 

Read the announcement here
 

2022-23 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Request for Applications Action Required

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is announcing a competitive Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts (PA PKC) Request for Applications (RFA)
 
This RFA is intended to support providers in preparing to serve and enroll children by September 2022. The RFA is being released in April 2022 to give providers time to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and plan for implementing the program pending grant approval.
 
Applicants must submit Letters of Intent to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov by 3 PM on May 11, 2022. Only applicants that submit a complete Letter of Intent by the deadline will be permitted to apply for funding. 

 

Best Practice Standards in Behavioral Support (BS) Follow-Up Survey

In 2021, ODP disseminated The Best Practice Standards for Behavioral Support. They also hosted several Virtual Office Hours (VOHs) for Behavioral Specialists, Administrative Entities (AEs), Supports Coordination Organizations, and Residential Providers. As a follow-up to these efforts, we created a hub on MyODP that captures all things Behavioral Supports related to the standards. Check it out and visit often as they intend to update and have some additional resources in the works to upload in the future including FAQs and Sample BSPs.

ODP intends to host additional sessions with providers and AEs to talk about the standards, but in the meantime, we are interested in hearing from those of you who have reviewed the standards or attended a VOH in the past year. Please take a moment to complete this brief survey.

If you have any questions or comments about this communication, feel free to email us ra-bastrainings@pa.gov.
 



Pennsylvania Career Guide

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry recently release the 26th edition of the Pennsylvania Career Guide. Whether you are a student, an educator, a first-time jobseeker, a parent, or a person considering a career change, you will find that the Pennsylvania Career Guide is a valuable resource as you make those all-important career decisions.

Information in this publication can be used by all individuals who are preparing for continuing education and/or entrance into the workforce. Examples of the useful information that are found in this guide include career outlook highlights, an interest assessment tool, tips for marketing yourself, sources of financial aid, and contact information for many Commonwealth services, including PA CareerLink® locations and select state agencies.

An online version of the publication can be viewed by selecting the link below. To find out how to obtain printed copies or if you have any questions, contact CWIA via email at workforceinfo@pa.gov or by phone at 1-877-493-3282.

Access guide here. 
 



Disability in the News



Biden Administration Releases Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
 
The Biden Administration has released its budget for fiscal year 2023. The proposal includes significant increases in several of The Arc’s priority programs.
 
Programs that received major increases in the proposed budget include:
•    Developmental Disabilities Projects of National Significance (100%),
•    Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Part B state grants (26%),
•    IDEA Preschool Grants (23%),
•    IDEA Part C Early Intervention (88%),
•    IDEA Personnel Preparation (163%), and
•    Vocational Rehabilitation Demonstration and Training Programs (604%).
Full fiscal year 2022 appropriations were not enacted at the time the budget was drafted. As a result, some funding increases were not taken into account. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will release their proposed funding levels later this year.

Click here to see a listing of discretionary programs and their proposed percentage cuts.
 

Education Department Releases Guidance for Students With Disabilities
 

The Department of Education released a letter providing guidance around the updated CDC Covid-19 recommendations and its implications for students with disabilities. Specifically, the letter details ways that schools can ensure students with disabilities are receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Read letter here
 
 

Federal Agencies Release Equity Action Plans

On April 14, the Biden Administration released the equity action plan summaries for each cabinet-level federal agency. These equity action plans were created because of President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Undeserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Learn more here
 

Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19 National Report: 12-Month Follow-up

"The aim of this study was to gather evidence about the experiences of the direct support workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and to inform efforts to better prepare for future waves of this pandemic. This is a twelve-month follow-up to the initial report published in fall of 2020."

Access study here
 

Researchers, Advocates Rush to Aid Autistic Ukrainians

"Two months ago, a two-story peach-colored building with a playground housed a kindergarten for 30 autistic children in Kyiv, Ukraine. But since Russia attacked the country on 24 February, the structure has served instead as a shelter, with the families who once received therapy and an education there — and the therapists themselves — now taking advantage of its secure basement, kitchen and food storage. All autism-related services, save for a few online sessions, have stopped. (For the group’s safety, Spectrum is not naming the center.)"

Read article here
 

New Study Reveals Details of Gut Diversity in Children with Autism

"New research shows clear different in gut bacteria between pediatric patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and pediatric patients without ASD."

Read article here
 

Feds Reverse Course On Alzheimer’s Drug After Outcry From Down Syndrome Advocates

"After complaints of discrimination, federal officials are backing off a plan that would have kept people with Down syndrome from accessing a new Alzheimer’s treatment even though they’re predisposed to the disease."

Read article here



Caring for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

"As children with autism, Down syndrome, and similar disabilities reach adulthood, they face unique challenges navigating the health care system. Medical schools are just beginning to train physicians in how to treat them."

Read article here



How "Unmasking" Leads to Freedom for Autistic and Other Neurodivergent People

"Roughly 2% of adults in the United States have Autism Spectrum Disorder – that's about 5.4 million people over the age of 18. And a lot of them go through their lives "masking."

Social psychologist Devon Price explains that masking is any attempt or strategy "to hide your disability." Price's new book, Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity, explores masking, and how to "unmask" and live more freely."

Read article here
 



A Whisper of Autism: Fragile X Carriers and the Autism Phenotype

"Margaret* was 46 years old when we spoke for hours by phone. Randi Hagerman, medical director of the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, had suggested that Margaret would be interesting to interview because she provided an example of the broad autism phenotype (BAP), a set of personal traits that might be called a hint or whisper of autism. Originally recognized in some parents of children with autism, BAP doesn’t constitute a diagnosis. It’s more of a clinician’s impression."

Read article here
 

Some Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms Linked to Astrocytes

"Abnormalities in a type of brain cell called astrocytes may play a pivotal role in causing some behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, according to a preclinical study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators."

Read article here
 

Pediatricians Get New Guidance On Caring For Kids With Down Syndrome

"The nation’s pediatricians are getting updated advice on how to provide the best care for children with Down syndrome from when they are still in utero through early adulthood."

Read article here

ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS FROM
 
PA Office of Developmental Programs

 
 
ODP Announcement 22-047:  Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--Provider Masking Policies for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

Opening and Returning to Full Capacity for Day Center Programming, Infection Prevention Principles

SIS Basics Review Webinar

ODP Announcement 22-046: COVID-19- Vaccine Booster Reminder

ODP Events Training Calendar May 2022

UPDATED Children with Medical Complexities Training Series - Part 1: Expanding Supports for Children with Medical Complexities RESCHEDULED

ODP Announcement 22-044: The Use of Public Transportation Services for Ridesharing Expenses

Eligibility Bulletin Overview for Counties/Administrative Entities Webcast UPDATED

ODP Announcement 22-040: Now Available-- Questions & Answers (Q&A) From April 4, 2022 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Webinar

ODP Announcement 22-042: April 15th News Alert from Infection Prevention Specialist Partnership with Health Care Quality Units


ODP Announcement 22-043: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--American Rescue Plan Act One-Time Supplemental Payment to Provide Funding for Technology That Enhances the Provision of Home and Community Based Services


ODP Announcement 22-041: New Health Risk Screening Tool (HRST) Advanced Rater Training (ART) Course Available May 1, 2022

ODPANN 22-039: Transition of Individuals Into a Nursing Facility (NF)
Legislative Updates from Katie Yost 

 

  • Representative Aaron Kaufer's House Bill 2022 was amended and reported out of the House Education Committee. The bill has been amended to establish a pilot grant program to fund school districts across the state to increase their mental health supports to students. It is now eligible to be brought up for a vote before the full House. 
 
  • Representative Jason Silvis' House Bill 2530, which would end the use of prudent pay to reimburse providers for services provided, passed out of the House Human Services Committee unanimously. It is now eligible to be brought up for a vote before the full House. 
 "Learn More"

 

Trainings/Workshops

 

Opening and Returning to Full Capacity for Day Center Programming, Infection Prevention Principles - Webinar

This webinar is for residential and day service providers, families, and SCOs to cover best practices for reopening day service provider facilities. Topics to be covered include best practices in screening participants, sanitation protocols, mitigation strategies, masking, distancing, and more. 
 

Registration is required to participate. Sessions are assigned by region. Click on the appropriate session below to register.

Western Region
Tuesday, May 3 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Southeast Region
Wednesday, May 4 from 3:00 – 4:15 pm

Northeast Region
Monday, May 23 from 1:30 – 2:45 pm

Central Region 
Friday, May 27 from 3:00 – 4:15 pm

 


SIS Basics Review Webinar
May 3, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM 
May 9, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM


The Office of Developmental Programs and Keystone Peer Review Organization, Inc. (“Kepro”) will host a Supports Intensity Scale – Adult (SIS-ATM) Basics training webinar, which will provide an overview of the SIS- ATM and PA Supplement assessments, as well as tips on how to prepare for the assessment interview to ensure quality outcomes. Both sessions will cover the same material. You only need to register for one session.

Click on the preferred session date below to register.
Tuesday, May 3 from 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Monday, May 9 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

 

ACRE Basic Certification Training - via Zoom
May 4-6, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM


The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. To receive certification, participants must attend a 3-day, live webinar training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Register Here
 

Expanding Supports for Children with Medical Complexities
May 10, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

In this introductory session to providing supports to children with medical complexities, ODP Medical Director, Gregory Cherpes MD and Chief Nursing Officer, Rhonda Gengler RN will provide an overview of the training series topics that will be covered in greater detail in subsequent sessions. Particular focus will be given to available resources that will serve to augment the Supports Coordinator (SC) monitoring tool and assist the supports coordinator during monitoring visits.

Register Here. 
 


The Arc of Pennsylvania's Customized Employment Training - via Zoom
May 18-20, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This 3-day training provides a comprehensive overview of Discovery (an alternative to traditional vocational assessments) and how to complete Discovery. For those seeking to become certified providers of Discovery through Marc Gold and Associates, it is the prerequisite training for certification. Individuals not seeking certification will gain valuable information and insight and may attend as auditors of the course.

This course is for:
Job Coaches and Job Developers, OVR Counselors, Supports Coordinators, Transition Coordinators, School Transition Teams, Parents and Families

Register Here



Opening and Returning to Full Capacity for Day Center Programming, Infection Prevention Principles
May 23, 2022 from 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM 


This webinar is for residential and day service providers, families, and SCOs to cover best practices for reopening day service provider facilities. Topics to be covered include best practices in screening participants, sanitation protocols, mitigation strategies, masking, distancing, and more.

Register Here. 
 

VOH Children with Medical Complexities Training Series - Part 2: Infection Control
May 26, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM


Virtual Office Hours to continue discussion around Part 2 of ODP's Children with Medical Complexities Training Series on Infection Control.

Register Here. 
 

The Arc of Pennsylvania's Advocacy & Policy Conference
June 6 - 7, 2022


Join us for our annual Advocacy & Policy conference, June 6th and 7th! The conference is an opportunity for the disability community to come together and learn more about the critical stages of transition experienced by individuals and families. The theme of this year’s Advocacy and Policy Conference is
“Planning for Life Stages: Pathways to Success”.

Learn More & Register Here. 
 

PA ABLE Savings Program Webinar
June 8, 2022 from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses while maintaining government benefits. 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.

To help you learn about the important features and benefits of PA ABLE, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is hosting free webinars.

Some of the topics that we will discuss include: eligibility requirements for opening a PA ABLE account, the federal and state tax benefits of PA ABLE, and how PA ABLE account interacts with current benefits.

Register Here. 
 



The Arc of Pennsylvania's INCLUDI-CON: a 3-Day Virtual Gathering on Inclusion & Accessibility
June 21-23, 2022 from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM

INCLUDI-CON is an opportunity to learn from national and state leaders about the most important topics that are impacting, not just students and educators, but the entire school community. Participants will gain crucial information on issues such as: 
  • Inclusion, belonging, and success,
  • Social and emotional health for all students,
  • Accessibility for all - for everything, and,
  • A deep understanding and approach to trauma
Cost: $30 per person – families & educators may qualify for a discount. Please email registration@includemepa.org for more information.

Note: Act 48 credits and certificates of completion can be provided. 

Register Here
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The Arc of Pennsylvania
1007 Mumma Road, 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
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