Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time For Change - And You Can Help!

Imagine! wants to change the way services for individuals with one or more developmental disabilities are funded and delivered. We have an opportunity to do so, and we need your help!

First, a quick refresher. If you have been reading my blog over the past year, you know that Imagine! has been engaging in efforts big and small to explore different approaches and philosophies in terms of how we work. We’ve done so despite operating in a climate that is change resistant, a climate that has experienced large decreases in resources coupled with a circling of the wagons among providers, government entities, advocates, and other concerned parties, leading to little collaboration and a scarcity of new ideas.

We’ve done so because we believe it is the right thing to do, and because we feel we owe it to the individuals and families we serve. We have also done so because we believed that being prepared would put us in a strong position to act if an opportunity to make a significant change arose.

Well, that opportunity has come about.

Imagine! has just submitted an application for a 5-year $1.25 million federal grant that would help fund a whole new system for addressing the needs of all of the unserved individuals with developmental disabilities in Boulder and Broomfield counties. This is a part of a larger Imagine! commitment to create innovative models that will enable us to serve all individuals with developmental disabilities in our area both now and far into the future.

The title of our grant application is A New Vision. Here are some of the key elements of the application:

• Imagine!’s A New Vision maintains a person-centered and family-centered approach will promote self-determination and will facilitate the allocation of resources to ensure that the most important issues of all individuals and families in the grant are addressed.
A New Vision is the key to sustainability, because it offers a natural way to prioritize and address the most pressing issues facing the participating families as a whole.
• In economics, the term for allocating existing resources according to a hierarchy of needs is known as
demand management. A New Vision brings this model – long used in other domains such as public utilities management – to the human services field.
A New Vision uses new and emerging technologies to maximize impact while limiting expenses.
• The current funding landscape is dominated by a deficit-model mindset in which services and supports are based upon what an individual cannot do, creating a cycle of dependency. In contrast, A New Vision service model focuses on the strengths of the individual and what the person can do in order to build capacity throughout the individual’s life.
• Imagine! will partner with a number of public and private entities in the implementation of A New Vision.

You can read more about this ambitious grant application by clicking here.

We will hear whether or not we have been awarded the grant by the end of September.

In the meantime, you can help make this New Vision a reality!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Developmental Disabilities (ADD) is seeking input on how they can best meet the diverse needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families, across the country via this survey. According to their website:

ADD seeks to utilize our resources to work on the priorities of the developmental disabilities community, and we hope to focus our energy on the most pressing and relevant concerns affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families. As such, we are looking for your thoughts regarding the focus of future Projects of National Significance (PNS). The purpose of PNS is to:

• Create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to directly and fully contribute to, and participate in, all facets of community life; and
• Support the development of national and state policy development, with the support and assistance of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, to reinforce and promote the self-determination, independence, productivity, inclusion, and integration of these individuals into all facets of community life.

Additionally, the site tells us:

Ideal PNS efforts are sustainable, can be replicated, promote systems change, and encourage collaboration. They may include, but are not limited to, initiatives related to family support, data collection, technical assistance, information and referral, self-advocacy support, educating policymakers, federal interagency initiatives, support for the participation of racial and ethnic minorities, youth transition, quality assurance, aging adults and aging caregivers, access to generic community services, community economic development, increased community living options, positive behavioral supports… or, of course, other emerging needs.

Imagine!’s New Vision grant application fits the description above of a Project of National Significance to a “T.” Completed ADD surveys highlighting some of the key points of our New Vision might help influence decision makers as they look to new ways of prioritizing based upon the needs of the community.

Therefore, I strongly encourage you to fill out the ADD survey and let them know what you think!

You don’t have to use our bullets above to let them know what is important to you, of course. Even if you have different ideas, you don’t want to miss this great opportunity to help shape the future direction of the way services for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens are funded and delivered. The time is now to act on a chance to construct a new paradigm; potentially creating the biggest meaningful change in the lives of those we serve since the early days of de-institutionalization.

Then again, what do I know?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Mark, this is a great message and opportunity to help folks with disabilities. I am now aware of the Administration for Developmental Disabilities (ADD). I completed the survey (always emotional for me) and encourage every stakeholder in the DD community to also complete the survey. It's another way to be connected and have a voice.