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DHSS Press Release



Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@state.de.us

Date: August 3, 2012
DHSS-78-2012





STATE ESTABLISHES DISABILITIES AND HEALTH CARE NEEDS TRANSITION TASK FORCE


Dover, Delaware, August 3, 2012 - The new State Transition Task Force for Emerging Adults with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs will examine and evaluate systems in Delaware involved in the transition from school-age to adult services for young people with disabilities.

Within the task force, four work groups are focusing on the following issues: education, employment, health, and housing/transportation. Self-advocates and parent advocates from each of Delaware's counties are among the members of the task force and its work groups. The state Department of Education estimates 10,000 children who have an Individualized Education Program are assessed in grades 3-10 and 1,100 take the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System - Alternate Assessment in grades 3-10.

The task force is an initiative established by the Governor's Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC), the University of Delaware (UD) Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) and the Catalyst Center of Boston University. On June 27, the General Assembly passed Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 34 with House Amendment No. 1, establishing the task force and its work groups.

Organizational partners include A.I. DuPont/Nemours Hospital for Children, The Catalyst Center of Boston University, Christiana Care, Delaware's Centers for Independent Living (CIL), the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC), the Delaware House of Representatives, Delaware Department of Education (DOE), Delaware Family Voices (DFV), Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Delaware Department of Labor (DOL), Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), the Delaware Senate, the Disabilities Law Program (DLP), the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF), the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Delaware, the Parent Information Center of Delaware (PIC) and the State Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD).

Terri Hancharick and Wendy Strauss, co-chairs of the State Transition Task Force for Emerging Adults with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs, plan to file quarterly reports with Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, and the Governor's Commission on Building Access to Community-Based Services. The Task Force, Secretary Landgraf and the Governor's Commission on Building Access to Community-Based Services will work to prioritize concerns and determine solutions.

"The work of the task force is important because it will examine and evaluate policies, procedures and the effectiveness of the systems that work with transitioning youth and young adults with disabilities," said Strauss, executive director of the Governor's Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens. "The task force will make recommendations to the governor, the secretaries of state agencies and policymakers about how Delaware can provide health care, education, employment, housing and transportation for youth and young adults who are transitioning into their communities. The goal is to help young people lead healthy and productive lives."

"The Center for Disabilities Studies and the Governor's Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens have worked for a long time to bring together all organizations and agencies that address transition for youth with disabilities," said Hancharick, who works at the Center for Disabilities Studies. "This task force is unifying our efforts to make recommendations that should make the transition process much easier for youth and their families. We are excited about this opportunity and proud that Delaware is a leader in addressing transition from all systems, not just one specific one."

"The areas of education, employment, health and housing/transportation are critical to increasing inclusion in our communities for individuals with disabilities, especially for young people making the transition from attending school to becoming young, independent adults," Landgraf said. "The expectation is that individuals with disabilities can live in their own home, have meaningful employment and be ordinary Delawareans. The task force and its work groups will examine ways that we can foster that level of independence among young people and encourage their full participation in society."

The task force welcomes input from the community. Self-advocates, parents, agency representatives and medical professionals who are interested in joining one of the task force's work groups should contact a chair or co-chair of the work group.

Education Work Group:
Chair:- Dale Matusevich, DOE, 302-735-4210 or dmatusevich@doe.k12.de.us

Employment Work Group:
Chair: - Andrea Guest, DOL/Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 302-761-8236 or andrea.guest@state.de.us

Vice-Co-Chairs:
Margaret Haas, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS), 302-933-3153 or Margaret.haas@state.de.us

Barbara Riley, DOL/DVR, 302-761-8271 or barbara.riley@state.de.us

Health Work Group:
Co-Chairs:- Jennifer Lecomte, Christiana Care Health Systems, JLecomte@Christianacare.org

Cory Nourie, A.I. DuPont/Nemours Hospital for Children, 302-651-4812

Ann Phillips, Delaware Family Voices (DFV), (302) 221-5360

Housing and Transportation Work Group:
Co-Chairs:- Christopher McIntyre, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, 302-633-2640 or christopher.mcintyre@state.de.us

Al Rose, Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council, 302-739-3623 or al.rose@state.de.us

Press Contacts:
Wendy Strauss, Executive Director, Governor's Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) wstrauss@gacec.k12.de.us 302-739-4553

Terri Hancharick, University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS)
terrih@udel.edu 302-831-8374



Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.





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