The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
FEBRUARY 21, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 31

IDEA Meeting for Consensus

Last week's Friday Fax described the latest process to take IDEA "out of the normal political process" and work towards a new consensus to complete the Reauthorization of IDEA. Congressional leaders invited representatives of the special education community and the regular education groups to assist with the Reauthorization process. They are tentatively scheduled to meet on Friday, February 21st. The goal is to set aside one month to work together, find common ground and have a bill that would be "acceptable" to all. At the preparatory meeting, Senator Jeffords and Representative Goodling clearly stated that there will be changes in the IDEA law. Hence, NPND leaders have developed the following four points to follow as they represent parents from across the country:

· Don't punish kids for having a disability.
· Don't punish families.
· Support schools to implement the law.
· Encourage and reward effectiveness.

NPND published its position statement on IDEA on February 7, 1997 (Friday Fax number 29). Every proposal suggested for the Reauthorization will be measured against the NPND principles from our position statement and the four points above. We urge parents everywhere to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to support the NPND statement, and oppose the changes suggested in Section 615 of the Draft IDEA Bills regarding cessation of services and discipline.

The ranking members in the Senate are Sen. Jim Jeffords (VT), and Sen. Ted Kennedy (MA). The ranking members in the House are Rep. William Goodling (PA), Rep. William Clay (MO), Rep. Frank Riggs (CA), and Rep. Matthew Martinez (CA).

To reach the Senate, call 1-800-962-3524, or 202-224-3121.

To reach the House of Representatives, call 1-800-962-3524, or 202-225-3121

NOTE: Thanks to all who have sent in NPND petitions. So far we have forwarded 700+ names to the ranking members listed above.

ADA Funding Request

The following is exerpted from a Department of Justice Press Release of 2/7/97

WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Janet Reno has asked Congress for an increase in funding for Fiscal Year 1998 to continue the Department of Justice's vigorous enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

As part of its overall budget request, the Justice Department is seeking an increase of more than 5 percent over the current FY 97 budget for ADA enforcement. The $477,000 increase will enable the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division to hire additional investigators, mediators, and an architect.

"Once again, this budget reflects the Administration's commitment to the ADA, even as the President sets out to complete the job of balancing the budget," said Attorney General Janet Reno.

SSI Standards Condemned

On February 6, 1997, the Social Security Administration announced its new standards for a child’s eligibility for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program. The standards are widely considered far too harsh. While the administration had considerable leeway in establishing new standards under last year’s welfare law, the most stringent alternative was selected. In a sample letter to the President, Jonathon Stein of Community Legal Services writes, “It was never the intent of Congress in the recently passed welfare legislation for Social Security to use Listings level severity and an eligibility test that would only embrace children with the severest disabilities who ‘meet or equal’ the much criticized and inadequate Listings of Impairments. The Senate floor colloquy of September 1995 reflected the understanding of a less strict test, and the key Senators who agreed to the final language of a new functional test, would never have agreed to a test that would have included Listings level severity as these new rules published as ‘interim final’ regulations have done.”

The Arc of the United States also expressed disappointment “that this decision appears to have been driven by budget targets, rather than by what is in the best interest of the children involved. ... To achieve the Clinton Administration’s budgetary goals, 135,000 children with disabilities who are currently on the SSI program must lose essential benefits that serve as a lifeline for keeping the family together.

The full text of Stein’s sample letter to President Clinton is available on NPND’s website (

Bright Futures for Families, PART 4

Thanks to all who have responded to the previous surveys. We have some new questions and would love to hear from you again, along with anyone who was unable to respond.
The National Parent Network on Disabilities is sharing the lead with Family Voices in the Bright Futures for Families initiative in collaboration with the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The purpose of this important project is to produce practical materials, developed by families for families, which will:
· Help families to form partnerships with their providers and to advocate for the health care needs of their child
· Prepare families to actively participate in health supervision and the promotion of healthy habits.
· Provide valuable information about child development and what to expect as a child matures to adolescence
· Share tips, hints, and stories based on the experiences of a variety of families These family materials will be derived from Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, published in 1994 as a comprehensive resource to help health professionals, families, and communities more effectively promote the health and well-being of our nation’s children and adolescents. As we develop these materials, we want to hear from you!! We’d love your input not only on how to make these materials beneficial, but on how to make them unique. Over the next few weeks, we will be including questions to solicit your ideas in shaping this fabulous resource. Please take a moment to answer the following questions, and then return this to NPND (Fax:703-836-1232; e-mail: Thank you for your help. ——————————————————————————————————————————— 1. Describe your relationship to the children you care for. Mother
Health Professional
Child Advocacy Professional
Other ___________________

2. Do you look for information about keeping your child healthy in general, or are you more interested in specific issues such as nutrition, injury prevention, social competence, or substance use prevention?

3. Do you turn to health promotion resources when you’re faced with specific issues, or for general learning?

4. Where do you turn to get information about how to handle particular challenges or phases? (Such as temper tantrum, excessive dieting, nightmares, the wrong kinds of friends, missing curfews)

5. What format(s) of health information material are you most likely to use and keep? Circle all that apply.

	Magazine		USE				KEEP 
	Book			USE				KEEP 
	Computer/internet	USE				KEEP 
	Pamphlet/brochure	USE				KEEP 
	Factsheet/handout	USE				KEEP 
	Video			USE				KEEP 
	Other:______________   USE				KEEP 

NPND * 1727 King Street, Suite 305 * Alexandria, VA 22314
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