MARCH 17, 2000                                                                     NO. 178



Family Opportunity Act of 2000
Reauthorization of the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1999



Family Opportunity Act of 2000 The Family Opportunity Act of 2000 will provide:

Access to Health Care Coverage:

Expanding Medicaid Options for States. States will be able to offer Medicaid coverage to children with severe disabilities living in middle income families through a buy-in program. Demonstration Program. The program would allow states to extend Medicaid coverage to children with potentially severe disabilities who without access to the health care services can be expected to become severe enough to qualify them for SSI.

Access to Health Information Resources

Establishing Family to Family Health Information Centers. The bill provides funds for establishing health information centers to assist and support families of children with disabilities and/or special health care needs. These centers, staffed by actual parents of children with special needs and professionals, would provide technical assistance and accurate information to other families on various health care programs and services available and appropriate for children with disabilities and/or special needs.

The Family Opportunity Act of 2000 is intended to address the two greatest barriers preventing families from staying together and staying employed - 

  1.  lack of access to appropriate services, and 

  2.  lack of access to the advocacy and assistance services they need to help cut the "red tape" to meeting their children's   health care needs.

This legislation is scheduled to be introduced in the Senate on Wednesday morning, March 22, 2000. A press conference will follow at 1:00 P.M. in the Senate Dirksen building (1st and C Streets, NE) in room 430. Parents, family members and advocates are invited to attend.

Before March 22nd, we need to share our stories and make known our support for this legislation. Send faxes and make calls to Senators Kennedy and Grassley to show your support for their efforts, as well as contact your Senators.

Tell Congress this is an important issue to families. Let them know how Medicaid benefits affect your family's livelihood and ability to be a responsible parent and citizen of this country.

*Senator Kennedy (D-MA), Phone: 202-224-4545 / Fax: 202- 224-2417
*Senator Grassley (R-IA), Phone: 202-224-3744 / Fax: 202-224-6020 /
/ Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Reauthorization of the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1999 (S. 1809) The DD Act is a 30 year old act that funds essential programs such as the Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the Protection and Advocacy Networks, the University Affiliated Programs, and Programs of National Significance. The Senate has already passed its version of the bill (S.1809). The DD Act is currently in the House Commerce Committee.

We need to contact members of the House Commerce Committee and urge them to take immediate action and adopt the Senate version, S. 1809, of the DD Act. The disability community supports the senate version.

Tell Congress that it is important to reauthorize the DD Act, and that the best way to do this would be to adopt the Senate version, S. 1809.

CONTACT INFORMATION / Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
House Commerce Committee: 202-225-2927 / 202-225-1919 (fax) /

NPND Asked To Help Find Young Leaders

The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities ( announces the National Leadership Conference for Youth with Disabilities (young people with disabilities ages 18-24). It will take place in Washington D.C. from June 24-28, 2000. Candidates must have some experience or documented potential as leaders.

Application deadline is April 15, 2000. For an Electronic copy of the application: access, or contact Isabelle Howes at to have it sent by e-mail. For questions relating to the application and its procedures, contact the Conference Manager, Dale S. Brown at 202-376-6200, x30; or at:

U.S. Disability Rights Movement on CD

TASH, an international disability rights and advocacy organization and Music From the Heart, an independent publisher of advocacy-oriented music, announce the release of their new CD, "See How Far We've Come," a retrospective on the last quarter century of progress in the disability rights movement. This debut collection of spoken word and music selections incorporates the oratory of Justin Dart, with the songs and poetry of Jeff Moyer, a leading songwriter, musician and disability rights activist. CDs and cassettes are available through TASH: 410-828-8274, x108 or e-mail Jaime Cherry at


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