The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
MARCH 14, 1997 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 34

IDEA Process Moves Forward

Around 150 people gathered last Thursday in the on-going process to reach some sort of consensus regarding the Reauthorization of IDEA. The first half of the meeting was dedicated to the 8 points, listed in Friday Fax number 32, February 28. During the second half of the meeting, ideas on all the major issues concerning the reauthorization were sought. NPND just received the working document for this week, which contains 6 pages of IDEA proposals and 4 pages of meeting notes. Contact NPND for a copy of this document.

The IDEA Working Group will address discipline next Monday. Now is the time to express your views on this issue. Future meetings are scheduled for March 14 & 21.

Contact your Senators to express your views by calling 1-800-962-3524, or 202-224-3121.

House Rehab Act Hearing

On February 27, 1997, the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Training and Lifelong Learning held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act. The five witnesses who spoke at the hearing are as follows: Judy Heumann, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services; Fred Schooner, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration; Paul Spooner from the Metro West Center for Independent Living in Framingham, MA; Suzanne Hutchinson from a supported employment program in FL; and Charles LaRosa, Commissioner of the SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department. It is not clear at this point whether further hearings will be conducted before a bill is introduced.

Hatch-Kennedy Child Health Bill Announced

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) announced a major new bi-partisan child- health initiative at the Children’s Defense Fund Annual Conference on Thursday, March 13. The Senators, whom Marian Wright Edelman called an “unbeatable legislative dream team,” both spoke about this comprehensive health care package for America’s 10 million uninsured children, which would be paid for by a tobacco tax of 43¢ per pack of cigarettes. Said Senator Hatch, “I am supporting this because it is the right thing to do,” and was pleased that he and Senator Kennedy had been able to “work out their differences without compromising their objectives. The strong points of the bill that he mentioned were that it would improve healthcare in a fiscally responsible way, allow states flexibility, and involve the private sector.

Senator Kennedy spoke about the current reality that “for too many parents, the emergency room is the family physician.” In rousing support of the new initiative, he said, “this is a must measure, that has to be done....Let’s get to people’s business; let’s get to children’s business.”

Both Senators expressed their pleasure at working together to give “every child in this nation” a healthy start.

Community Living Choices

Grants totaling $5 million, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, were recently announced by the Self-Determination for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Program in NH. These grants, awarded to 18 states, will fund new programs aimed at improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. The following states have received grants: AZ, CT, FL, HI, IA, KS, MD, MA, MI, MN, OH, OR, PA, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI. These programs will provide wonderful opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities to plan their own supports. They will be very helpful for families as they help their young people plan for the future.

Balanced Budget Amendment Fails in Senate

The proposal to amend the US Constitution to require a balanced federal budget was one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass it in the Senate. A similar proposal also failed two years ago by exactly the same vote. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to defeat this Amendment, which would have been harmful to our children.
Tonight, Friday 3/14 on 20/20, Tim Johnson, MD, will discuss Latex Hypersensitivity. 20/20 airs at 10 pm EST. Watch this if at all possible.

With A Little Help From Our Friends

Thank you for your interest in our Friday Fax. NPND has been able to provide the Friday Fax through phone service from Sprint. The Sprint phone service allows NPND the luxury of sending out the Friday Fax free of charge for up to $1,000 per month. The Friday Fax is currently disseminated to 800 individuals/organizations a week, and that number increases weekly. As a result, what began as a small venture has increased tremendously. NPND enjoys being part of the technological age and being able to provide this type of service.

With our wide circulation, we have surpassed our monthly Sprint allotment of $1,000. To offset these additional charges, NPND is asking nonmenbers who are able to help us continue to provide this service by either making a donation, or by becoming a member of NPND. If you choose not to become a NPND member, a donation of any size would be greatly appreciated.

Please be assured that receipt of the Friday Fax is not contingent upon making a contribution. The Friday Fax will continue to be provided to all who request it.

Who is NPND?
The National Parent Network on Disabilities (NPND) is a not-for-profit organization which serves families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. Our target audience is the 5.8 million children receiving special education services. Through its organizational structure, NPND works with their parents and families. The mission of NPND is to speak as a collective voice representing the perspectives, strengths, needs, diversity, and interests of parents and family members of people of all ages with a disability or special health care need. NPND shares information and resources in order to promote and support the power of parents to influence and affect policy issues concerning the needs of people with disabilities and their families.

What do we do: NPND is currently involved in the following projects:
· Parents Engaged in Education Reform (PEER) Project
· National Parent Consortium on Maternal and Child Health
· All Children Belong (ACB)
· Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Parent Public Policy Fellowship
· Parent Case Management Program for People of Color (PCMPPC)
· Toys 'R' Us - Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids
· Research and Training Center on Community Integration - Syracuse University

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