Raising Awareness for Developmental Disabilities During COVID-19
Since 1987, March has been a time to launch public awareness campaigns in support of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This year, we understand that providers, families, and individuals with developmental disabilities are facing unprecedented challenges as the nation rapidly responds to COVID-19.
As a software provider, we are committed to helping our agencies continue their work, while maintaining the health of their employees and the individuals they serve. Through our partnerships with national associations such as ANCOR and The Arc, we are closely monitoring the latest guidance and sharing appropriate resources with our I/DD agencies.
Evolving COVID-19 Legislation
The federal government is continuing to develop legislation in response to COVID-19, and it’s crucial to advocate for the specific needs of those with disabilities. The legislation passed on March 18th includes an increase in federal reimbursement for state Medicaid programs, requirements for private health insurers to cover testing, and some expansion in paid sick leave policies. However, national organizations like ANCOR and The Arc are advocating for the next legislation package to include provisions that specifically address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their caregivers.
Beyond immediate COVID-19 response, there are additional events in 2020 that will affect individuals with I/DD and their providers. With Census Day approaching on April 1st, it’s crucial for households with individuals living with developmental disabilities to accurately submit census information. Census data helps determine government funding for services, education, housing, and healthcare. Individuals with disabilities have historically been undercounted in the Census, which creates long-term effects on the quality and quantity of resources available to them. Given the current suspension of Census 2020 field operations, households can continue to respond online, over the phone, or through mail.
Advocacy Beyond Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Throughout the rest of the year, Foothold will continue working closely with our national and local associations partners: including ANCOR, The Arc, ADDP, PAR, SHA NJ, FARF, and IARF. We are also running an ongoing art contest, Project Expression, to champion our core values of respect, collaboration, integrity, balance, and mission-driven. In the spirit of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we encourage service recipients living with developmental disabilities to submit artwork that represents their individual voices. We’ll also continue to share stories from I/DD agencies and associations through our Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
As we close out this year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we recognize the unique challenges facing individuals with I/DD and the agencies that serve them. We hope you’ll join us in taking even more time to connect, even virtually, with those in your community that may need your support.