The Arc Maryland is a statewide public policy advocacy organization committed to dignity, civil rights, quality supports, community inclusion, and the empowerment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
The Governmental Affairs and Public Policy Program advocates in these ways:
The Arc Maryland represents the interests of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the Maryland General Assembly in legislative, budget, and regulatory matters; organizes grassroots and members to advocate at the legislature, hosts annual Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature, and more.
The Arc Maryland developed several successful pieces of legislation that are now law including: Waiting List Equity Fund, Community Services Trust Fund, Comprehensive Interagency Plan for Transitioning Youth with Disabilities and amendments, Maryland State Department of Education – Special Education – Right to Receive Education through Age 21 years, Community Supported Living Arrangements Services (CSLA), DHMH – Developmental Disabilities Administration – Written Plan of Habilitation for Persons in State Residential Centers, and several bills to strengthen quality assurance in programs licensed by the Developmental Disabilities Administration.
Through The Arc of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy National Public Policy Collaboration Office in Washington, D.C., we maintain a statewide network of grassroots and sister agencies in responding to federal action alerts about proposed legislation, policy and regulations.
The Arc Maryland advocates at the state administrative level to improve services and benefits for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. State level systems advocacy includes Maryland State Department of Education – Special Education and Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Developmental Disabilities Administration, Office for Children, Youth and Families, Child Care Administration, Housing, and more.
Waiting List Campaign
Thousands of people with developmental disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome are on a Developmental Disability Administration (DDA) “Waiting List” for vital services and support because of inadequate resources. Over 7,000 children and adults remain on the Waiting List for support and services from the DDA. Children in crisis resolution, crisis prevention and current request categories make up more than half of those on the waiting list. In 1999, The Arc Maryland led the successful “Key of Our Own: Waiting List Campaign” that resulted in the Governor’s $116 million Five-Year Waiting List Initiative benefiting over 8,000 children and adults and their families. That Initiative has ended and no new funds have been provided. Waiting List families have joined together, through The Arc Maryland, to activate the Waiting List Campaign. For more information and to join, click here.
Maryland was the first state to provide a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities, as a result of litigation filed by The Arc Maryland during the 1960’s. The education lawsuit predates federal law mandating public education for children with disabilities. The Arc Maryland’s Legal Advocacy Committee of attorneys provides legal advocacy for civil and disability rights. Issues include state implementation of the Olmstead Supreme Court case for the right to receive services in the most integrated setting, parental rights of parents with mental retardation, and institutional litigation.
You Can Join The Arc Maryland’s Governmental Affairs and Systems Advocacy Efforts!
Members of The Arc can join The Arc’s Statewide Action Alert Network – you’ll receive information on legislation and what you can do! If you would like to receive alerts by e-mail, please sign up here. Even if you are not a member, The Arc Maryland is a place you can get involved. As an umbrella grassroots advocacy organization, we advocate for the common vision of inclusive lives for people with developmental disabilities at the State Legislature, State Administration and courts. By joining our advocacy, we have greater influence and strength.