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 Speaking out for people with
intellectual & developmental disabilities


836 S. Arlington Hts Rd.  #351

Elk Grove Village, IL  60007

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JUNE 8 - 13, 2018


Exceptional Parent Magazine
is now available for free to digital subscribers!

Click here to subscribe:

VOR’s 2017 Membership Drive:



As part of our 2017 Membership Drive, we have created a letter that we hope you will send out to the members of your family organization. The purpose of the letter is to show the other families in your group who advocate locally that VOR can help them advocate nationally and unite with families in other states with shared experiences.

Please ask your family group to print copies of this letter and include them in their mailings. You may include this with your newsletters, advocacy campaigns, or post it to your group's website. You may also consider including this letter with the "Thank You" letters that go out to members to after receiving donations to your group.

Download the Membership Letter here

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Membership Matters!

We are only as strong as our supporters

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Please keep your membership current!

If you are unsure when your membership will expire, please write to

Free One-Year Digital Memberships for Direct Support Professionals

We want to show our appreciation to the people who provide the long-term care for our loved ones with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

We are offering 100 free one-year digital subscriptions to VOR's weekly newsletter and Action Alerts. The subscriptions are available to Direct Service Professionals and Nursing, Medical, or Dental Staff at state-run or privately operated Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID).

Members are encouraged to share this offer to caregivers in their loved one's facilities. There will be a limit of five subscriptions per facility. Subscriptions will be active until January 1, 2019.

To apply, simply send an email to with the subject line Free Digital Subscription and include:

1. The name, address, telephone, and email address of the applicant

2. The name and address of the facility at which they are employed

3. The name of the VOR member who has referred them.

Tennessee - Public Meeting - Human Rights Review Process
November 27, 2017 - December 27, 2017

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Department) is giving notice through the Tennessee Administrative Register of the following Public Meeting:

The Department will be publishing the Human Rights Review Process policy, # 80.6.1. The purpose of this policy is to clarify the human rights review process requirements for people enrolled in one of the State’s 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers or state-funded services. This policy supersedes, in its entirety, Provider Manual Chapter 2, Section 2.9 effective 3/15/14.

This public meeting will take place on Monday, November 27, 2017, 1:00-4:30 P.M. (CST) at One Cannon Way Drive, Clover Bottom Development Center Campus 275 Stewart’s Ferry Pike, Nashville, Tennessee 37217.  Interested persons may provide written and/or oral comments to the changes made to the Policy.

Contact Solita Morris



VOR's Marketing Committee is compiling a list of media contacts who are familiar with I/DD issues and understand the importance of ICF's, Sheltered Workshops, and other services that impact the lives of our family members.

If you know of any reporters or media outlets in your area, please send their name, the name of their organization, and contact information to us at

Share the news with us at
or call us toll-free at 877-399-4867

And of course, visit our website at:

Guardianship Resources

VOR understands the valuable role that guardians play in the emotional and physical well-being of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). We want to ensure that guardians, the majority of whom are family members or close friends of the person with I/DD, have all the information they need to make informed decisions about this vital part of the safety net. 

Attacks on guardianship have become more frequent, especially with the advent of funding to promote Supported Decision Making as a replacement for guardianship. For more information, see the links on the VOR Website:

Many states have guardianship associations affiliated with the National Guardianship Association (NGA)

The NGA advocates for high quality standards in guardianship and certification of guardians and the protection of the rights of incapacitated adults. That said, as with any large advocacy organization, you may not agree with all their policy positions, but they are a good source of information and an avenue for family and friends who have taken on the responsibility of guardianship to make sure their perspective is represented in proposed policy changes.

The NGA lists affiliate organizations for 25 states:

If your state is not listed or you know of other local or state guardianship organizations, send VOR an email and we will add a link to our Website.

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AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support VOR every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same prices, selection and shopping experience as Amazon, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to VOR.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. Fill in the form and select "VOR - Elk Grove Village".

You may also want to add a bookmark to AmazonSmile to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

December 22, 2017

VOR Weekly News Update
News and views for VOR Advocates

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VOR is a national organization that advocates for high quality care and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

VOR promises to empower you to make and protect quality of life choices for individuals
 with developmental 




For years, VOR has campaigned against Department of Justice (DOJ) efforts to close Intermediate Care Facilities. These efforts on the part of DOJ have resulted in the deaths of the individuals forced out of their ICF homes and into HCBS waiver settings.

VOR's Peter Kinzler has been working with Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to find ways to curtail these DOJ actions. On December 6, 2017, Representative Goodlatte sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that DOJ "initiate a comprehensive investigation into the causes of the unspeakable number of deaths occuring across the country and suspend activities aimed at displacing fragile Americans from licensed ICFs/IID in good standing."

Click here to read the letter from Bob Goodlatte


Justice Dept. Revokes 25 Legal Guidance Documents Dating to 1975

By Charlie Savage, The New York Times, December 21, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he had revoked more than two dozen documents that interpreted and explained a wide range of federal laws, including guidelines on storing explosives and accommodating people with disabilities.

The 25 rescinded documents cover more than 200 pages and date back as far as 1975.

Mr. Sessions had foreshadowed the move last month in an address delivered to the annual convention of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal network. He also issued a memo last month barring the department from using the so-called guidance letters to create de facto regulations.


“This practice is over,” Mr. Sessions told the society. “We have prohibited all Department of Justice components from issuing any guidance that purports to impose new obligations on any party outside the executive branch. We will review and repeal existing guidance documents that violate this common sense principle.”

While guidance letters describing the department’s interpretation of the Constitution and federal laws do not technically have legal force by themselves, they carry an implicit threat that parties that do not follow their recommendations might face federal lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.

One letter affected by the decision had been issued by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in October 2016. It advised public programs for employing people with developmental disabilities to modify their policies and practices, where reasonable, to better integrate their beneficiaries into mainstream workplaces in order to comply with a 1999 Supreme Court ruling about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The civil rights of persons with disabilities, including individuals with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities, are violated by unnecessary segregation in a wide variety of settings, including in segregated employment, vocational and day programs,” the letter said.

Read the full article here


Exceptional Parent Magazine (EP) has Published VOR Board Member Susan Jennings' Article, "Joey Jennings' Story", in the December, 2017 Issue!

The editors of EP have done a beautiful job re-formatting the article. If you haven't already subscribed to EP, we encourage you to do so now.

For those who haven't read this terrific piece, or for those who would like to download it, please click here.

Department of Justice Withdraws Olmstead Guidance on Employment

On August 14, 2017, ACCSES submitted a public comment requesting that the Department of Justice eliminate the Integration Mandate that it issued on October 31, 2016, in that it did not represent a factually accurate statement of the employment landscape or, indeed, of the law.  Today, the United States Department of Justice did just that.  The Integration Mandate was set aside with the following message from the Department:
December 21, 2017—The Department of Justice has withdrawn and removed from its website the October 2016 guidance on State and local governments’ employment service systems, titled “Statement of the Department of Justice on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and Local Governments’ Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities.” This action was taken to afford further discussion with relevant stakeholders, including public entities and the disability community, as to how best to provide technical assistance in this area. Withdrawal of this guidance document does not change the legal responsibilities of State and local governments under title II of the ADA, as reflected in the ADA, its implementing regulations, and other binding legal requirements and judicial precedent, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision. This withdrawal should not be understood as expressing any view on the legal merits of the principles set forth in this Statement, or on the merit of any specific procedures currently in place in any State or local jurisdictions. The Department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the ADA.



5. SOUTH CAROLINA - DDSN to Review Its System for Handling Abuse Allegations After Senate Report

By Tim Smith, The Greenville News, December 18, 2017

The agency that provides treatment for the state's most vulnerable residents is reviewing how it handles allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation and also is preparing to increase how much it pays certain types of  facilities that help care for the intellectually disabled.

Pat Maley, the state Department of Disabilities and Special Needs interim director, told DDSN commissioners this week that the examination of how the agency handles abuse reports is the result of a recent Senate report on the agency that raised "red flags" .

Maley, who became DDSN's interim director this month, said he wants the review to produce measurable indicators that can be used to determine if the handling of abuse, neglect and exploitation allegations is improving or not. "I think it is healthy for us to do a program review from top to bottom," Maley told commissioners. "If there is any doubt we are not protecting our people, I think we have to stop what we are doing."

DDSN reported 119 allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation for the period of July through September, a rate which would total slightly less than the 526 allegations reported for the most recent fiscal year ending in June, records show. Typically only a handful of allegations result in arrests, though many dozens may result in employee terminations or findings of standard of care issues.

The Greenville News reported earlier this year that rates of abuse, neglect and exploitation allegations in the system had increased significantly in the past year.


Maley also said the agency had come to an agreement with the Tri-Development Center of Aiken County to pay the facility $21,000 more per month to continue operating its intermediate care facilities as a temporary solution until staff can propose a statewide solution for local agencies who are losing money operating those types of facilities.

The center's board had decided earlier this fall to cease operating four intermediate care facilities, which care for 32 severely disabled clients, after concluding it could no longer afford to operate them with the money provided by DDSN.

The decision has shined a spotlight on the issue of DDSN's provider payment system, which has been criticized for years as being unfair and inadequate for certain types of programs, including the operation of intermediate care facilities.

The agency is working on a revision of that payment system.

Read the full article here


6. NEW JERSEY - Big Payment Reform to Programs for NJ's Developmentally Disabled

By Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight, December 21, 2017




The families of Arkansas have created a series of 30-Second and 1-Minute video Public Service Announcements that will air on stations throughout Arkansas. The spots are beautifully filmed and present the Arkansas Human Development Centers as a vital part of the state's continuum of care in residential services.

Thank you, Rita Hoover, Arkansas State Coordinator, for bringing these PSA's to our attention, and thank you to all of the Arkansas families who contributed to their making.

Do yourself a favor, and download and share these videos with your friends and family.

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Charles and Laura Jones describe why they feel that the Conway Human Development Center is the best option for their son Bryce:
Jack Ladyman describes why he feels that the Jonesboro Human Development Center is the best option for his son Heath:
Darrell 2Darrell Pickney describes why he feels that the Jonesboro Human Development Center is the best option for his daughter Darlene:


8. The Fall/Winter 2017, Full Color Edition of the VOR Voice is now available for download on our website!

Included in the online edition is an article by VOR Board member and President of Murray Parent's Association Rita Winkeler of Illinois, on the importance of Intermediate Care Facilities and how they continue to serve those whose needs are not met in HCBS waiver settings.

Click here or paste this link into your browser:



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will be held at the


JUNE 8 - 13, 2018
VOR Logo No By Line

TENNESSEE - Public Meeting - Human Rights Review Process - November 27, 2017 - December 27, 2017

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Department) is giving notice through the Tennessee Administrative Register of the following Public Meeting:

The Department will be publishing the Human Rights Review Process policy, # 80.6.1. The purpose of this policy is to clarify the human rights review process requirements for people enrolled in one of the State’s 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers or state-funded services. This policy supersedes, in its entirety, Provider Manual Chapter 2, Section 2.9 effective 3/15/14.



INDIANA - Task Force to Examine Support Needs for Hoosiers with Disabilities

A state plan for the support needs of Hoosiers with intellectual and developmental disabilities will get an update soon for the first time in 20 years. A new state task force aimed at helping the estimated 100,000 Indiana residents has scheduled meetings across the state.

The link to the livestream can be found here.

Dates, times and location for each meeting of the task force are as follows:

  • Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, 10 a.m.--2 p.m. CT, Boonville
  • Wednesday, April 18, 2017, 11 a.m.--3 p.m. CT, Lafayette
  • Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 10 a.m.--2 p.m. CT, Valparaiso
  • Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, 11 a.m.--3 p.m. ET, New Albany
  • Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, 11 a.m.--3 p.m. ET, Columbia City

All meetings are open to the public and will be streamed live. Public comment will occur prior to the start of each meeting to provide input regarding services and supports for people with disabilities. Requests for accommodations for meetings of the task force should be made by contacting Kristina Blankenship at at least 48 hours in advance of the task force meeting.

For more information, visit:

If you have a conference or group event that you would like posted here, please write to with a description
of your event.



There is Strength in Numbers. 
Keep VOR Strong!
The size of our membership base makes a noticeable difference to legislators, grant foundations, private donors - and to the advocacy organizations that share or oppose our views.



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Volunteers Needed! Volunteers are needed for several committees and specific tasks. VOR relies on its members to perform many of its key responsibilities. Please join us, and help us to continue our mission.


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VOR   836 S. Arlington Heights Rd. #351   Elk Grove Village, IL   60007 

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