Disability Rights Round-Up, March 2nd, 2017
As we begin our blog series on rights and services for individuals with disabilities, let’s take a look at two items that would have major impact – one on the state level, and one national.
First – a seemingly innocuous set of fiscal rules introduced by the NJ DOE could have a disastrous impact on private special education schools in the state that serve 11,000 of the state’s most complex students, whose needs cannot be met within district public schools. The NJDOE proposed more than 80 pages of new accounting rules that will devastate these schools, and make it very hard for them to operate. Some schools may be forced to close. The rules affect areas such as pension, healthcare, travel, hiring and staff training, tuition-setting, debt, and audits, to name a few. These rules will directly affect services to children. Here is a summary sheet of the changes and the effects they would have:
Many advocacy organizations have expressed strong opposition to these regulations, including ASAH, Autism New Jersey, The Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities, The Arc of NJ, and the United Way of Central NJ. Calls for action can be found here:
On the federal level, we are keeping an eye on GOP proposals to replace the current Medicaid funding system with block grants to states, essentially shifting more costs to states and leaving states with a lot of discretion on how to spend their limited funds. This could be disastrous for people with disabilities, who frequently rely on Medicaid for their medical care; for many, it would limit their treatment options – for others, cuts to Medicaid would mean that they could no longer live independently. A good explanation can be found here: