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The Office of Disability Employment Policy recognizes October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month and they have chosen “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion” as the theme for this year’s awareness campaign. The theme is intended to reflect the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during (and beyond) the national recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic. California is an Employment First State meaning that it has adopted a federal framework, implemented through AB 1041 in 2013, making it “the policy of the state that opportunities for integrated, competitive employment shall be given the highest priority for working age individuals with developmental disabilities regardless of the severity of their disability.”

On September 27, 2021 Governor Newson signed SB 639 ending the practice of paying sub-minimum wage to people with disabilities and strengthening the state’s commitment to ensuring real work for real pay. Provisions of SB 639 include an inclusive stakeholder-led process that phases out subminimum wage in California over the next three years. We look forward to working with the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, and other stakeholders, to draft a plan that will successfully transition employees with disabilities who are currently making sub-minimum wage to other employment opportunities where they will be afforded the same worker protections as every other Californian.

Wesley Witherspoon, Chair, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, shared his excitement about the new law saying “This is a historic day for all Californians but especially those in the disability community. We have worked long and hard so that disabled employees in our great state are paid fairly for their work. The minimum wage is an important protection that all workers deserve and is essential to help people achieve their goals. California was long overdue to end the subminimum wage and with this policy change, we can move forward to creating new opportunities that ensure that people with disabilities have meaningful days on many different levels.”

"Statewide directed measures are necessary to protect particularly vulnerable populations, and ensure a sufficient, consistent supply of workers in high-risk care settings. These measures can improve vaccination rates in these settings, which ensures that both the individuals being served as well as the workers providing the services, are protected from COVID-19." Read more.

It’s time to tell Congress that #CareCantWait!

We have an opportunity right now to make a HUGE investment in home and community-based services (HCBS) funded through Medicaid by passing the Better Care Better Jobs Act.

Help make this happen by sharing with your members of Congress what home and community-based services mean to YOU and YOUR FAMILY or why you need these services NOW!

Background: People with disabilities rely on home and community-based services funded through Medicaid to live independently in their communities. HCBS support people with disabilities by paying for things like employment supports, getting around the community, dressing and bathing, taking medication, and much more! But due to a decades-long lack of investments in the system, Medicaid doesn’t have the funding to support everyone. This means people are stuck on waiting lists, direct care workers are underpaid due to stagnant wages, and too often unpaid family caregivers are filling in the gaps in service.

All too often, parents of disabled children face extraordinary challenges in areas of money, time management and caregiving. COVID has done these families no favors. While much of our world was ordered to shelter-in-place, many parents were forced to work from home AND lose all help they once had pertaining to childcare; thus exposing the "Caregiving Crisis."

In this eye-opening article, you experience the struggle of parenting through COVID, the work-life balance (or lack thereof) and what it means to not have the help you need. So many families in the US are feeling defeated due to a vast caregiver shortage – read and share their stories to help us bring light to issues affecting countless families.

According to HuffPost, children of disabled parents learn invaluable lessons from the resolve and creativity their parents demonstrate. You sometimes have to get creative on problem solving for finances, especially when a child is thrown into the mix. Here are a few suggestions on how you can financially prepare for your new child.

As a successful attorney at law, Haley Moss (the first openly autistic female attorney in Florida history) uses her platform to advocate for those who face prejudice in the legal system based on developmental disability.

Too often, individuals who find themselves in a court room or legal situation are misunderstood or mislabeled because of their diagnosis. Moss has found purpose in educating those within and outside of the legal system about what it means to be diagnosed. She recognizes that many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) rarely have a voice when it comes to neurotypical societal conversations – and this needs to change.

Moss goes on to explain that because those with ASD often misread social cues or become uncomfortable with social interactions, they are more likely to find themselves in unruly situations and fall victim to a socially biased legal system.

In this article, you will find real-world examples of how ASD and other disability stereotypes have misled individuals in the justice system. You will also find solutions for alleviating bias, offered to those representing a disabled client, or for the client themselves.

Finding accessible housing is often a difficult task for people who live with disabilities. There are more accessible homes on the market than there used to be, but they are still few and far between. Nonetheless, if you (or a loved one) are going to lead a life of safety and comfort, then living in a home that accommodates your needs is critical.

This article reviews what to look for and what to avoid while looking for houses if you have a disability.

A step in the right direction...

The chief executives of Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Sony and hundreds of other international organizations are committing to advance disability inclusion.

The companies are part of a group known as The Valuable 500 that first formed at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in an effort to improve life for people with disabilities.

Read more about The Valuable 500 and their efforts to promote inclusion in the corporate world.

When a child endures a traumatic experience, the whole family feels the impact. But adults hold the power to help lessen its effects. Several factors can change the course of kids’ lives: feeling seen and heard by a caring adult, being patiently taught coping strategies and resilience-building techniques, and being with adults who know about the effects of such experiences. Here are ways to bring these factors to life.

Parents of children with special needs face extraordinary decisions when it comes to choosing the most appropriate educational fit for their child during the pandemic - and beyond.

This article covers the pros and cons of in-person v. remote learning, questions that many parents have when making this decision and addresses the difficulty in making the "right" decision for their child. What it comes down to is... There is no RIGHT answer. Each child is different and each parents has much to consider when making the BEST decision for their family.

Giving back your time as a board member is a fulfilling way to help make a difference for a cause that you love.

Giving back to the world starts with you. How will you focus on your mental health this week?

Helping others can provide a new sense of purpose that may have been dwindling as a result of the new way of life we’ve endured in 2020. So in order to breathe new life into 2021 and beyond, it’s time to look outside ourselves and focus on others.

Whether donating money or time, giving back has been shown to make a positive impact that goes far beyond the initial act of giving.

While we can’t control what happens in 2020, we can all take steps toward remaining positive even on the most challenging days.

Whether you’re in the business world or the nonprofit realm, communication is a critical component of moving things forward and accomplishing your goals.

If you try to live altruistically, then combating your own loneliness can play a vital role in how you serve others. Here’s how to fight loneliness while still regarding social distancing.

Volunteering and serving doesn’t have to be challenging when you use your talents to support others. Identify your talents, ask for support and find an organization where you can use your strengths to give back.