Keep Options Available for Adults with Disabilties

Category: Advocacy, Participants

A plan recently released by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) may eliminate all facility-based work centers so that all adults with disabilities will work in community-based employment.

We support DHS’s plan to increase community-based jobs—Riverfront serves twice as many participants in community jobs as in our work centers. As experts in our field, we’ve learned that 100% community employment is not a realistic goal. A “one-size fits all” approach to employment cannot serve individuals with a diverse range of abilities.

Many adults employed at work centers have profound disabilities and require one-to-one personal care assistance with basic daily needs such as eating and toileting. Those individuals will never achieve productivity greater than 10-20% of a non-disabled person— they will not find community-based employment.

The changes stem from the federal level. Some states have chosen to maintain work centers; others have closed all work centers to focus on community employment. When work centers close, adults with profound disabilities suffer— they become isolated and typically work less hours, if at all.

Because the federal guidelines are incomplete, Wisconsin’s plan has ambiguities and calls for more direction for several federal agencies. We believe once the DHS receives additional guidance and updates there should be an additional 30-day public comment period.

September 2 is the deadline to act. Please contact DHS, your legislator and Governor Walker and tell them to:
1) Preserve the full range of options for people with disabilities.
2) Recognize that the current DHS plan is incomplete.
3) Request another 30-day comment period after the Wisconsin plan is amended.

To learn more about how work centers serve our communities, contact Riverfront at info@nullriverfrontinc.org or visit www.ateamwisconsin.org for current news.

Please make your voice heard before September 2, 2014 and contact DHS, your legislators and Governor Walker. Thank you.