NEWS

Family Forum

Vision for Equality is publishing the Family Forum. We welcome articles and event information that are of interest to our community.

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VFE In The News
 

Transformation Champion Award 2015Vision For Equality Receives Transformation Champion Award
 

Vision for Equality was honored to receive a Transformation Champion Award in the Excellence in Service category on December 4, 2015 at the DBHIDS Transformation Decade Celebration

City Council Hearing
Testimony Supporting Bill #150009
September 11, 2015

CLICK HERE to read testimony of Audrey Coccia, Co-Executive Director of Vision for EQuality

Nancy Thaler, New Deputy Secretary of PA Office of Developmental Programs Visits Vision for EQuality and meets with families and self-advocates
 

Celebration In Center City Marks 25th Anniversary Of Americans with Disabilities Act
 

Maureen Devaney, Co-Executive Director of Vision for Equality interviewed by Alexandria Hoff of CBS 3

A celebration was held in Center City Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The festivities kicked off at Dilworth Park with speakers and live performances by musicians with disabilities. From there, hundreds lined up for a parade down Market Street to the National Constitution Center where more speakers addressed the crowd of hundreds.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Maureen Devaney, Co-Executive Director of Vision for Equality interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquier
 

Colleen Devaney started kindergarten at the right time. Had she tried to enter the year before – 1975 – Colleen, who has autism and cannot speak, might well have been rejected. But the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act had just passed, guaranteeing services to children with disabilities.

Read story: Disabled celebrate milestone in Philly

img13Disability Funding Rally – June 16, 2015

On Tuesday, June 16, 2015 Vision for EQuality, Inc and The Arc of Pennsylvania with its 34 chapters hosted a Disability Funding Rally at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to highlight the urgent need for disability services funding. We were joined by numerous other disability related organizations: The PA Waiting List Campaign, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, Temple University Institute on Disabilities, PAR, RCPA, Self-Advocates United as 1, Speaking For Ourselves, The Alliance of Community Service Providers, The Provider Alliance and UCP of PA. The rally followed a press conference by the PA House Disability Caucus, a bipartisan caucus focusing on all disability issues. Caucus members spoke about their efforts to promote legislation for the benefit of people with disabilities. The rally demonstrated the dire need for a 2015-16 Pennsylvania state budget which restores funding to programs for people with disabilities to PA state legislators. Just as for people without disabilities, it is important for people with disabilities to participate in the communities in which they live—they often need support from state programs to do this more fully.

CLICK HERE to watch a video on the rally and read more.

SankeyThey Must Care For The Disabled. But Who Cares For Them?

By: Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2015, 3:01 AM on Philly.com

FOR TOO LONG I have listened, aghast, to stories shared by Dee Coccia. She’s co-executive director of Vision For Equality, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of intellectually disabled folks and their families.

If you don’t know anyone who has an intellectual disability, your eyes probably just glazed over and you’re now turning the page in search of a more exciting read.
But if you do know someone with an intellectual disability, Coccia’s stories will be horrifying and, perhaps, familiar. CLICK HERE to read more.

img51State Funding Crucial in Helping Disabled Adults
 

In the wake of a disabled man abandoned in a Cobbs Creek park by his own mother, NBC10 started looking at families with members who are also disabled. NBC10’s Rosemary Connor’s spoke to Audrey Coccia from Vision for Equality and discovered that finances and the age of the child play a big role in what services they can receive.

PPSG Hosted Mayoral Candidate Forum @Vision for Equality

Philadelphia Parent Supports Groups (PPSG) hosted Mayoral Candidate Forum @ Vision for Equality on Friday, April 10, 2015. Candidates who attended Forum: Lynne Abraham, Jim Kenney, Milton Street and Sen. Anthony H. Williams. Mayoral Candidates were asked and answered questions from concerned parents and caregivers in the audience.

Olmstead hearing

On March 31st, a Hearing was held in the House of Representatives concerning the Olmstead Decision and people living in large institutions. Vision for Equality and the PA Waiting List Campaign gave an exceptionally high quality Hearing that everyone should have information on and access to. The information we are sharing will help you explain to your Legislators just what the Olmstead Decision is and the impact it has on people. Let’s end institutional bias.

To watch the Olmstead Hearing click the link below Video House Human Services Committee hearing – 3/31/2014:  http://www.pahousegop.com/56.aspx

Mayor Nutter changes hurtful words in the Philadelphia code

February 19, 2014 Mayor Michael Nutter, joined by Councilman Dennis O’Brien, Dr. Arthur Evans, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, and Emilio Pacheco, Associate Director of Vision for Equality signed a Bill, introduced by City Councilman Dennis O’Brien, which officially amended the language in The Philadelphia Code by replacing the outdated and negative term “mental retardation” with the term “intellectual disability.”

Click here to read full article from SPIN.

Click on picture above to view video slideshow of pictures from this historic event.

The Weekly News Digest

Read our Weekly News Digest

You can find useful informational about upcoming trainings and events, national and local news pertaining to the disabilities community and encouraging stories and quotes. Feel free to forward the Weekly News Digest to friends and family.

Click on below links to read the latest news:

Under 21

FREE MUSEUM PASS
Philadelphia high school students who enroll in STAMP (Students at Museums in Philly) will receive the STAMP Pass, a card that they can use to get free admission to some of the city’s top museums and cultural venues.
The STAMP Pass is available for FREE to children ages 14 to 19, who live in Philadelphia. They can register for the pass by visiting www.phillystamppass.org.

HIGH SCHOOL SELECTION
The District’s High School Selection Process affords parents and students the opportunity to apply for admission to high schools outside of their neighborhood.
All rising 9th grade and current high school students, including English language learners and children with disabilities can utilize the High School Selection Process to apply to special admission, citywide admission, and other neighborhood schools within the School District of Philadelphia.

The High School Selection Process allows students to apply to not only different Neighborhood Schools, but to City Wide and Special Admission Schools too.

Click here to read the Learning Networks for 2013-2014 with the Asst. Supt. 
The Parents Page  (scroll down to the Important Resources Column)
The School Opening web page (scroll down to the bottom of the page)

CONCUSSION CARE FOR KIDS
Prompt recognition of a concussion and immediate treatment with cognitive and physical rest are crucial to promote recovery. That’s why the concussion experts at CHOP have developed an evidence-based primary and specialty care approach to diagnose and treat concussions in children. Click here  to read more.

SPORTS FOR ALL: WORKING TO GET CHILDREN WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES “OFF THE SIDELINES AND INTO THE GAME”
The weather is cooling down, traffic is picking up, and school busses full of eager students adorn the streets early mornings; it is that time of year again – everyone is going back to school! When I think of going back to school, I think about all of the fun experiences that accompanied my full days of learning – making new friends, taking new classes, and playing sports after school. Being active was part of who I was, and playing team sports – softball, basketball, dance team and swimming – prepared me for many of life’s lessons as I’ve traveled life’s road. These lessons included teamwork, working towards a common goal, perseverance, determination, and even how to be a gracious winner (as well as how to be a good sport, especially when I didn’t win). Sports and life were intertwined for me.
Click here to read more.

DISABILITY CONNECTION: 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL
Reduced-Price/Free Breakfast or Lunch. Each year, thousands of public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions serve nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals to children from low income families through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
Click here to read more.

 NEW GUIDANCE TO SCHOOL ON EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
To ensure that students with disabilities consistently have opportunities to participate in extracurricular athletics equal to those of other students, the US Department of Education’s Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” to clarify and communicate schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) regarding the provision of extracurricular athletics (including traditional public schools and charter schools).
For more information on your child’s right to participate in extracurricular activities, click here.

VARIETY – THE CHILDREN’S CHARITY

Variety – The Children’s Charity is a non-profit organization that provides social, recreational and educational programs and services to children with special needs throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region and Delaware Valley
The “Direct Care” program was established to assist families in obtaining medical equipment, devices and therapies for children with disabilities that insurance and other funds do not cover.
To be eligible you must meet all of the criteria:
*   Have a household income at 400% of Federal Poverty Guidelines or less
*   Have access or ability to access the internet
*   Have the ability to purchase recommended durability case
Click here to read more.

 “DIRECT CARE FOR KIDS” GRANT OPPORTUNITY FOR IPADS AND OTHER TABLETS! APPLY TODAY!
Please see below re: an opportunity for families to obtain an i-pad and other tablets, through Variety.
Please note that the application process is fairly detailed, requiring, for example, copies of tax returns and use of a Notary Public.  However, it is a great opportunity!
If you have any questions or need further details, please contact Variety directly.
Nick Claxton, CQSW
215 685 5232
Program Coordinator, CSHCN
Philadelphia Department of Public Health
Division of Maternal, Child & Family Health

MONITORING THE TRANSFERS OF CHILDREN FROM CHIP TO MEDICAID
Effective January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act changes eligibility rules, making children between ages 6 and 19 in households with incomes between 100-133 percent of poverty eligible for Medicaid, children who are currently eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). An estimated 50,000 children currently enrolled in CHIP are expected to transfer to Medicaid beginning January 2014. Click here to read more.

WHAT ARE SUMMER MEALS?

There are more than 1,000 places in Philadelphia that offer free breakfast, lunch and snacks to kids and teens ages 18 and under. These sites include recreation centers, schools, churches, housing complexes and community organizations.

How do I find a summer meals site in my neighborhood?

  •  Call the toll-free Philly Summer Meals Hotline: 1-855-252-MEAL
  • Text “MEALPA” to 877877
  • Visit www.phillysummermeals.org

Who can get summer meals?

  • Kids and teens ages 18 and under. There are no income requirements or registration in qualifying areas.

Click Here to learn more.

BACK TO SCHOOL
You might think that summer just began, but at the District we are getting ready for September! Please, save the date for the Back to School event which will be held on Friday, August 9th from 9:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the High School of the Future. Click here to get access to the flyer in several languages:
Also, the third edition of the School Opening Newsletter went out yesterday.  All issues can be found on the school opening website, click here.

TN LEND/UCEDD HEALTHY BODIES TOOLKIT ADDRESSES PUBERTY IN ADOLESCENTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
When you ask parents of adolescents and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities about the challenges their families are currently facing, more often than not issues related to puberty will make it to the top of the list. While young people with disabilities will go through many of the same physical and emotional changes that typically developing young people will go through, unique challenges may make this a somewhat stressful time for families. Click here to read more.

NEW STATE BUDGET HAS WINS FOR PA KIDS
The newly enacted state budget has some promising investments for Pennsylvania’s kids, including more for early learning, child care and K-12 education, and there’s a new law coming to help foster youth re-connect with their families. Click Here  to read more.

STUDY REQUIRED BEFORE EXPANDING COUNTY BLOCK GRANTS:
As I See It
As a lawmaker, it is my responsibility to carefully weigh the implications of legislation before I vote. That’s why I am skeptical of recent efforts to plunge forward and expand a new human services block grant pilot program without any credible data on its impact. I am proud to work in a bipartisan fashion with state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, chairman of the House Human Services Committee, to protect Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable adults and children. Click here to read more.

TIPS: IF YOUR CHILD HAS AN IEP AND HIS/HER SCHOOL IS CLOSING IN SEPTEMBER 2013
If your child has an IEP and his/her school will be closed in September 2013, your child will be transferred to a different school.
REMEMBER:
*You have the right to ask to observe the proposed classroom/school
*You have the right to request an IEP meeting ESPECIALLY
If the learning program your child will be given in the new school is different from the one he/she has now.
To schedule an IEP Meeting during the summer, contact the Office of Special Services at 440 N Broad Street, Phila. PA 19130; 215-400-4170.
Click here to read more.

COLLEGE INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Heading to college is both an exciting and frightening time for all students. This is a time when students cross the threshold from teen to independent adult. One’s success and failures during this time can directly affect his or her future. When a student has a disability, there are additional concerns that must be confronted and addressed. Where parents may have played a large part in a person’s education through high school, the student must take on that responsibility for his or herself while in college. Click here to read more.

PENNSYLVANIA DROPS TO 17TH IN NATIONAL KIDS COUNT RANKINGS
The 2013 KIDS COUNT® Data Book was released today, and it ranks Pennsylvania 17th in the nation for overall child well-being – down from 14th a year ago. Pennsylvania was among only five states to fall three or more spots in the rankings over the past year. The latest data book shows Pennsylvania’s children are not making any measurable gains in areas like health care, early learning or economic security. Click here  to read more.

Events

Photo Gallery

Disability Pride

 

Celebration In Center City Marks 25th Anniversary Of Americans With Disabilities Act

Maureen Devaney, Co-Executive Director of Vision for Equality interviewed by Alexandria Hoff of CBS 3

A celebration was held in Center City Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The festivities kicked off at Dilworth Park with speakers and live performances by musicians with disabilities. From there, hundreds lined up for a parade down Market Street to the National Constitution Center where more speakers addressed the crowd of hundreds. CLICK HERE to read more.

img12Maureen Devaney, Co-Executive Director of Vision for Equality interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer

Colleen Devaney started kindergarten at the right time. Had she tried to enter the year before – 1975 – Colleen, who has autism and cannot speak, might well have been rejected. But the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act had just passed, guaranteeing services to children with disabilities.
Read story: Disabled celebrate milestone in Philly

Disability Pride 2014

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, hundreds of people attended the Disability Pride Philadelphia Event. It was truly a memorable day with lively musical and artistic performances, notable speakers and of course, the March/Parade to the National Constitution Center.  This year’s event celebrated the launch of the Community Integration Act.

CLICK HERE to enjoy a picture slideshow of Disability Pride 2014