Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A key Medicaid protection is at stake

Washington needs adequate reimbursement rates for direct support professionals. A proposed federal change could worsen access to the community


RELATED: Fred and other patients with developmental disabilities languish in local hospitals

The following was shared from The Arc of the United States:

Every day, Medicaid supports millions of people with disabilities to live independently in their community.

However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to significantly weaken a rule that makes sure that Medicaid reimbursement rates are enough to allow people to access services and supports that they need.


If reimbursement rates are below costs, providers will not want to participate or will not be able to provide high quality services. This means that people will not be served or will be put on waiting lists. Inadequate reimbursement rates can also mean low wages and high turnover rates for direct support professionals (DSPs). The work of DSPs is invaluable to the disability community and the service system that relies on their abilities to keep people out of institutions.

We must tell CMS that it should expand and improve - not weaken - the current rule, so that no one will have to go without services and supports. CMS needs to hear from individuals with disabilities, parents, family members, advocates, and service providers that this is a critical issue!

There is still time to send a message to CMS. They will be accepting comments until September 13. That means we only have two days to send in as many comments as possible to stop the rule from being implemented and ask CMS to strengthen the existing rule.

Fill in your information here and you will be brought to a page with draft comments that you can personalize and submit directly to CMS.

Thank you for your advocacy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Parents (and allies!) of children 2 to 5: This course is for you

How do we make early learning more inclusive?

Are you interested in promoting inclusive early learning and disability equity? Are you a parent (or ally) of children ages 2 to 5? Consider applying to The Inclusion Academy, a program of The Arc of King County, funded by Best Starts for Kids. Classes start September 14 and run 9 weeks.

Our philosophy? Disability is a type of diversity, and whether children with disabilities or developmental delay reach their potential is linked to how society responds to and nurtures them. So let's change society.



The Arc of King County's Inclusion Academy is designed for parents (and allies!) of young children ages 2 to 5 navigating early learning. It is a Best Starts for Kids Innovation Fund pilot and a portfolio project of Frontiers of Innovation, the research and development arm of Harvard's Center on the Developing Child. The academy is grounded in the science of early childhood development and the research and legal basis for inclusive learning opportunities.

OUR GOAL: Give you the information you need to support and advocate for your child AND the skills to pursue disability activism.

  • The developing brain & the early learning landscape
  • Disability is diversity
  • Inclusion 101
  • Setting a vision and mission
  • Behavior is communication, and social and emotional learning
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Your child’s rights
  • How change happens
  • Tactics to implement your vision
WHAT TO EXPECT: Nine classes taken with fellow parents (and allies!) of young children who have disabilities or developmental delays. Once you have the foundational knowledge you will be paired with a mentor to apply what you learned by designing and implementing a project to promote inclusive early learning or disability equity.

TIME COMMITMENT: Five to 8 months, depending on how long it takes to complete your project. Nine weeks will be spent in classes, the rest will be independent work.

COST: This class is free, thanks to a grant from King County's Best Starts for Kids. All participants will also get a small stipend to help offset costs for materials or travel related to their community projects.

Classes will launch September 14, 2019, and run weekly to November 9, 2019. The first and last classes are tentatively set to run 9 am to 2:30 pm; the other seven will run 9 am to noon. Child care will be available.

The location is not yet final but we are hoping to launch in Seattle.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

We're hiring! Early Learning Project Coordinator

Project Coordinator/ Early Learning Initiatives 

Wanted: Individual passionate about inclusive early learning, disability equity, and working with parents and allies to develop their leadership potential. If you want to spark passion to help young children with disabilities thrive, please send resume and cover letter to Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy, The Arc of King County, at  

This position will primarily support The Inclusion Academy, a leadership program that empowers parents and allies to expand and create inclusive early learning opportunities and promote disability equity.
SKILLS REQUIRED: Must be good with logistics and communications and have strong facilitation skills; these include:
  • Be welcoming and able to encourage open communication
  • Ask questions that prompt critical thinking
  • Build rapport among participants
  • Record and organize comments to help participants reflect and assess what has been shared
The Inclusion Academy is a Best Starts for Kids (BSK) Innovation Fund pilot and is supported by Frontiers of Innovation, the research and development arm of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. The academy includes 9 classes, 2 supplemental events, and a mentored community project, per cohort.

Class topics include:
  • The developing brain & the early learning landscape
  • Disability is diversity
  • Inclusion 101
  • Setting a vision and mission
  • Behavior is communication, and social and emotional learning
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Your child’s rights
  • How change happens
  • Tactics to implement your vision.
Each class will have at least 2 facilitators. Built-in technical support is available. The project coordinator is not expected to have subject expertise, but should have relevant life experience. Being a parent counts! 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Free! Mental health referral service for children and teens

Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens connects families with mental health providers who have openings in their schedule and can meet your child’s needs. We link you to providers in your local area who fit your child’s specialty needs and insurance coverage. Washington state funds the free referral service and Seattle Children’s operates it.

Any Washington family can use this free service. We make referrals for children and teens 17 and younger from across Washington. We connect families with evidence-supported outpatient mental health services in their community.

How to Use the Mental Health Referral Service

  • Have your insurance card handy and helpful information about your child’s diagnosis.
  • Call 833-303-5437 Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
  • Or, complete an online request and a referral specialist will call you.
  • We will ask about your child’s mental health needs, health insurance plan and where you live.
  • Then, we will research mental health providers in your area to find 1 or 2 that meet your family’s need and have openings. This process can take longer than a week. We will give you details on how to contact the providers we recommend.
  • We will also send the referral suggestions to your primary care provider.
  • A few weeks after that, we’ll follow up to make sure your child is getting the care they need. If you do not have an appointment yet, we will talk about any problems you are having. If needed, we will link you with another provider.
  • Providers, learn more about the service.
Learn about mental health resources such as useful links, videos and recommended reading for you and your family.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Drop-in forum for affordable housing in King County

Do you care about affordable housing and homelessness prevention?

King County is setting priorities for how to spend approximately $9 million in Community Planning Development federal funds from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Funds may be used for a wide range of activities in support of low and moderate-income people in King County and living outside of Seattle.

The King County will be hosting a community forum Saturday, June 29, to speak with residents about their priorities, gather input and take public comment on the draft plan. King County and city partner representatives will be onsite for conversations during the stated times; there is no formal program planned.

Everyone is welcome!
Tukwila Library, June 29, 2019, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, 14380 Tukwila International Blvd, Tukwila.

You can find more information here.

Questions? Contact:

Madeline Cavazos, Policy Analyst and Community Liaison, King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci. 206-477-7774,