Archive for January, 2013

DARS Announces a Temporary Lifespan Respite Voucher Program

darslogoThe Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program is funded through a federal grant awarded to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging –Office of Home and Community Based Services.  The Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program provides reimbursement vouchers to home-based caregivers for the cost of temporary, short-term respite care provided to individuals of any age with a disability or special need (infants, children and adults, including elderly persons).

Individuals eligible to apply for voucher funding through the Virginia Lifespan Respite Voucher Program include Virginia caregivers of children or adults who reside in the same household as the person receiving care.  Voucher funding is limited to a total of $400 per family.  All funds must be expended by July 31, 2013.

Respite funds must be requested by the primary caregiver who resides full time in the same household.  Funds may not be used to reimburse household expenses or daycare; funds must be used to reimburse an individual respite care provider or an organization that provides respite. Due to limited funds, not all eligible applications will be approved.

You can access the application information at the DARS website The forms are available in word or PDF form (the PDF version allows you to fill in the document on your computer & print off for signature).

Questions on the application process can be directed to:

Kristie Chamberlain, 804-662-7154 or 1-800-552-5019 or  An application packet can also be mailed if access to the internet and a printer is not an option.

Please share this announcement with everyone you know! And make copies of the packet for those you may run into that could be interested.

The Lifespan Respite Voucher Program Committee:

  • Mary-Margaret Cash-DARS
  • Kristie Chamberlain-DARS
  • Patricia Goodall-DARS
  • Ellen Nau-DARS
  • Theresa Preda-DARS
  • Monica Uhl-The Partnership at VCU

January 31, 2013 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

President Obama Appoints Michael Graves to the U.S. Access Board

President Barack Obama has named Michael Graves,mgraves
FAIA, of Princeton, New Jersey to the U.S. Access Board. Graves is the founding principal of Michael Graves & Associates, an architecture and design firm that he founded in 1964, and of Michael Graves Design Group. He is also the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University, where he taught for nearly 40 years. Graves has received a number of awards, including the Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame (2012), the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medal (2010), the AIA Gold Medal (2001), and the National Medal of Arts (1999), and was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design by the Center for Health Design in 2010. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome. Graves received a B.S.Arch from the University of Cincinnati and an M.Arch from Harvard University.


The Access Board is an independent Federal agency that provides leadership in accessible design under the ADA and other laws. Its governing Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. The Board is comprised of 13 members from the public appointed by the President and representatives from 12 Federal departments.




January 29, 2013 at 10:49 am 1 comment

National Federation of the Blind Comments on Belgian Euthanasia of Deaf Men Losing Sight

BALTIMORE, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/nfbThe National Federation of the Blind, the largest organization of blind people in the United States with over 50,000 members, including many deaf-blind individuals,  commented today on the state-sanctioned death by lethal injection of deaf twins in Belgium.  Upon learning that they were also going blind, the deaf twins sought and were granted euthanasia.


Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “This disturbing news from Belgium is a stark example of the common, and in this case tragic, misunderstanding of disability and its consequences.  Adjustment to any disability is difficult, and deaf-blind people face their own particular challenges, but from at least the time of Helen Keller it has been known that these challenges can be met, and the technology and services available today have vastly improved prospects for the deaf-blind and others with disabilities.  That these men wanted to die is tragic; that the state sanctioned and aided their suicide is frightening.”

The National Federation of the Blind needs your support to ensure that blind children get an equal education, to connect blind veterans with the training and services they need, and to help seniors who are losing vision continue to live independent and fulfilling lives. To make a donation, please go to

About the National Federation of the Blind The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, and most influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United States.  Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and equality of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology, and training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with the tools they need to become independent and successful.  We need your support.  To make a donation, please go to


SOURCE  National Federation of the Blind

January 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

People with Disabilities and Older Adults: Help Improve Transportation Services in the Fairfax Area!

Fairfax County wants to better understand the travel patterns and transportation needs of people with disabilities and older adults who live in Fairfax County, City of Fairfax and Falls Church.

Consider taking this brief survey now. Your answers will help the county improve transportation services to older adults and people with disabilities.

The questionnaire consists of 27, mostly, multiple choice questions. We estimate it should take about 10 minutes to complete.

If you are helping someone complete this survey, we thank you in advance but caution you to ensure that the responses are from the respondent’s perspective.

If you require an alternate format of the survey, please contact Jill Clark at 703-324-5874, TTY 703-449-1186.

The survey is sponsored by the Fairfax Area Mobility and Transportation Committee, which reports jointly to the Fairfax Area Disability Services Board and the Fairfax Area Long Term Care Coordinating Council.

January 7, 2013 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

CIL Funding and Other Services at Stake

In recent years, ECNV Action Alertand other Virginia Centers for Independent Living (CILs) experienced significant cuts in state funding, including a $306,866 budget cut last year. State funding for CILs is less than that provided in FY’09.

The result is that ECNV and other CILs have had to stretch dwindling resources to continue to serve consumers and their families. Some ECNV services like a dedicated deaf outreach program were suspended, and a blindness resource staff person was lost through attrition. Plans for more targeted Hispanic outreach were delayed. Loudoun ENDependence (LEND), ECNV’s satellite, serves one of the fastest growing communities in the nation with only 2½ peer counselors/IL specialists. Without relief in sight, waitlists and cuts in services could loom ahead!

Why Is It Important To Fund CILs?

Simply put, funding for CILs is a cost-effective investment in the disability community! CILs are local and offer a unique array of peer-based, self-help services that promote consumer-direction and self-determination so that people with disabilities can take charge of their own lives, setting and achieving their own life goals.

CILs are consumer-controlled, consumer-run organizations, allowing people with disabilities to play an active role in planning, developing, operating, and overseeing the services they receive. This model makes CILs unique among providers of service to the disability community.

State funding for CILs is an important investment in giving people with disabilities the tools they need to live independent, productive and fulfilled lifestyles in their own homes and communities. CIL services and supports save the state $2 for everyone $1 invested by keeping Virginians with disabilities out of institutions!

That’s why CIL funding is a top priority for ECNV and the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living.  And, you can help!

!!!!!Come and Speak Out at  Public Hearings in January!!!!!

State legislators will hold public hearings in Northern Virginia the 1st week in Jan 2013.  Please attend at least one hearing and tell them to support increased funding for CILs and to protect consumer-run, peer-based services!

What Can Be Done To Restore Funding For CILs?

During the 2013 General Assembly Session, VACIL will ask state legislators to introduce budget amendments to restore CIL funding cuts. An appropriation of $306,866 will fully restore cuts and bring CILs back to their FY09 funding level. VACIL will also request additional funding which would total $862,463 to assist existing CILs and their satellites like LEND to improve and expand their services, permit 2 older satellites to become freestanding CILs, and create 4 new satellites in un-served areas.

IL Day at the General Assembly will be on January 30th, 2013. This is when advocates for disability issues go to the Virginia General Assembly Building in Richmond to speak to their elected legislators about various disability issues, and to relate, personally, their own story about why that issue is important to them or to those for whom they are advocating.

The most immediate thing you can do is to take time to attend one of the public hearings held by our state legislators during the first week in January! The hearings we know of are: 

Regional Budget Hearing – Senate Finance/House Appropriations — Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 10 a.m. – GMU Pr. Wm. Campus – Hylton Performing Arts Ctr., 10900 University Blvd., Manassas. Speaker registration begins at 9 am. NOT accessible by public bus or MetroAccess. Driving directions: call 703-993-7550, press 2 & then 4.

Local Delegation Hearings

Fri., Jan 4, 2013 at 6-8 p.m. – Arlington Delegation, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., County Bd. Rm. (3rd Fl.) – Arrive by 5:30 p.m. to register to speak.

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 at 9 a.m. – Fairfax Delegation at the FFX County Govt. Ctr., 12000 Govt. Ctr. Pkwy., Fairfax, VA 22035 in the Board Auditorium — Call Clerk to BOS at 703-324-3151 for speaker # or sign up at door.

What Other Disability Issues Are Important This Year?

  • Preventing Medicaid waiver eligibility from being reduced from 300% SSI to 267% SSI in 2014, resulting in some people losing services;
  • Adding new ID/DD waiver slots to address growing wait lists;
  • Funding services to implement Olmstead Settlement Agreement; and
  • Supporting funds to ensure adequate instructional and other services so blind and vision impaired students to meet Standards of Quality.

For More Information, contact Doris at ECNV at 703-525-3268 x8006 or

January 2, 2013 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

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