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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Support NCIL Youth!

The theme for NCIL’s 2017 Annual Conference is Revolution: A Global Independent Living Movement.

Due to a variety of barriers, most especially cost, youth with disabilities have been unable to fully participate in the national disability community. In order for the Independent Living Movement to be more inclusive of young people, we need the support of Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils. We are asking you to talk to your

CIL or SILC to pledge to support youth in one of the three ways:

  • Pledge to financially sponsor 2 young people in your local area to attend the NCIL Conference.
  • Pledge to financially sponsor 2 young professionals on your staff to attend the NCIL Conference.
  • Contribute towards the Youth Scholarship Fund that will bring young people from across the country to the NCIL Conference. Your donation will support plane tickets, hotel accommodations, personal assistance services, and registration costs for attendees.

Revolution - A Global Independent Living Movement - Annual Conference on Independent Living 2017. Graphic: Continents have been added to NCIL's logo (a blue semi-circle), which forms a globe. A red heart sits between the end points of the semi-circle.With your help, we can bring youth with disabilities to the 2017 NCIL Conference and ensure that youth leadership will grow and flourish in the Disability Rights Movement. Together we can ensure that young people with disabilities are empowered, engaged, and ready to lead.

CIL Wanted: Increase Your CIL’s Programmatic Capability!

The Our Lives: Safe and Strong Program Toolkit (OL), a project that focuses on providing specialized program content, training, and technical assistance support to OL partner CILs to support them in development of an on-site abuse awareness, abuse prevention, and safety-planning strategies/ approaches program for folks who experience a disability, is now seeking one further CIL to join their OL CIL consortia.

The Regional Research Institute (RRI), Portland State University, with funding from NIDILRR, is on lead for the project. RRI is partnering with a small consortium of CILs from across the country to further develop and finalize the Toolkit content and programmatic methodology. The cornerstone of the OL Program is a computer-based abuse awareness and abuse prevention tool, one for women with disabilities and the other for men with disabilities, and both tools were created directly by women and men who experience disabilities. In addition to the computer-based abuse awareness / prevention tool, each OL CIL is being supported by the project to develop its own site-specific OL programmatic activities to augment and complement the tool.

One of our starter OL CILs encountered an unexpected need to withdraw from the project for reasons of realignment of personnel at their location, and, as a result, we now keen to locate another CIL to join us in this work. The ideal CIL would be located in an area adjacent to, but not directly in, a city having a minimum population of approximately 400,000 or more people. It would also have above average representation in its consumer population of individuals who are either Latino or Hispanic.  [Read more…]

Tell Your Senators to Preserve Critical Protections for Students with Disabilities!

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to overturn the Department of Education’s regulation implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) core requirement that schools be held accountable for the performance of historically marginalized students, including students with disabilities. Congress has never before voted to overturn an education regulation. The Department issued this regulation after the public, including both educators and students and their families, filed over 21,000 comments. The Senate will vote soon on whether to follow the House and overturn the regulation. We ask you to call your Senators today to vote “no” to protect students with disabilities.

What You Need to Know:

The ESSA provides states with flexibility in how they identify schools where students are struggling, how they will hold those schools accountable, and how the states will support those schools. But the ESSA also provides strong “guardrails,” to ensure that schools actually help students, including students with disabilities, learn and achieve proficiency. The ESSA also requires states to issue a “report card” for every public school in the state, so that parents can make informed decisions about where their children will attend school.

Last year the Department of Education issued a regulation strengthening the ESSA, clarifying what the law requires, and specifying timelines for states to develop an accountability plan, including report cards, for schools. Taking into consideration over 21,000 comments from the public, including parents, students, educators, advocates, and others, the Department was using those notes to shape what the regulation should say. The final regulation gives content to the ESSA’s core requirement that states must ensure that schools take steps to help struggling students, including students with disabilities.

Despite this robust process, on February 7 the House of Representatives overturned the Department’s ESSA accountability regulation. The Senate may vote soon to join the House and overturn the regulation. If the Senate votes “yes” on this bill (H.J. Res. 57), President Trump has said he will sign it, and the Department won’t be able to enforce the ESSA regulation and core protections for students with disabilities will be lost. New Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has already told states they don’t have to follow the regulation, pending the Senate vote.  [Read more…]

Call for Donations to Assist Oroville, California

Oroville, California is in a serious emergency. Over 180,000 people were evacuated this week after significant damage occurred to the country’s tallest dam. While some residents are currently being allowed back into the area, people with significant disabilities are facing indefinite stay at shelters and fairgrounds, with more rain expected later this week. Many residents have fled to Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, CA, and serious access issues are anticipated.

Organizers on the ground are reporting a need for durable medical equipment, including wheelchairs, cots, showers, commode (bathroom) chairs, etc.

If you have durable medical equipment to donate, or if you can make a financial contribution, please contact Paul Timmons (Portlight Strategies) at or Teresa Favuzzi (California Foundation of Independent Living Centers) at

Opportunities for ACTION on Saving the Affordable Care Act

Efforts in Congress are well underway to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and restructure Medicaid. We’re expecting to see a repeal bill in late March, which will likely include a lot of replacement provisions as well as Medicaid restructuring. There’s still a lot we don’t know, because things keep changing. But we do know that our efforts are making a difference, and that we need to get even louder right now! Please, keep calling, emailing, writing, Tweeting, and meeting with your members of Congress!

For more detailed background information, including the disability-specific pieces of the ACA, our fact sheet on the ACA and Medicaid block grants, and ways to take action, please see our previous alerts, Call to Action: Saving the Affordable Care Act and Fighting Medicaid Block Grants and Action Alert: Save Disability Rights Provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, there are several upcoming opportunities:

  1. NCIL is working to collect stories from the IL community that we can use to get Congress to understand how their cuts and changes impact real people around the country. Have you benefited from the Affordable Care Act? Did you gain coverage through Medicaid expansion? Did you transition from a nursing home to your community because of Money Follows the Person? Will your independence be jeopardized by Medicaid cuts? These are just a few examples of the types of stories we’re looking for. We’ve been told by our allies on the hill that personal stories are what really make the difference. So please, if you have a story to share, email NCIL’s Policy Analyst, Lindsay Baran, at
  2. NCIL is participating in a coalition of disability advocates and activists called Disability Power for Community Integration. The coalition is putting on a webinar this Friday on Congress’s efforts to repeal the ACA and restructure Medicaid, and how these will impact people with disabilities. If you’re interested in joining, please register online. If you missed the first webinar in January, view the archived materials.
  3. If you haven’t met with your members of Congress yet (or, even if you have), NOW is the time to get some face-to-face. Both the House and the Senate will be in their home districts all next week (February 18-25), and this will be the perfect time to set up a meeting and voice your concerns! We need our members of Congress to hear directly from their constituents how the action of this Congress will hurt us. And while you’re planning your meeting, make sure to check whether your Senators or Representatives have any town halls scheduled on this calendar complied by the Town Hall Project!

With so many programs and services that help our community at risk, now more than ever we need to speak up and be heard!

Will You Be Our Valentine?

Heart IconLove is in the air! At NCIL, preparations for our Annual Conference are in full swing. We love our conference sponsors and exhibitors, we love the CILs and SILCs that make up the backbone of our organization, and we love you, our wonderful supporters that are with us every step of the way!

What we’re not in love with are the frightening changes happening to federal programs and services for people with disabilities. Congress is hard at work dismantling key parts of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid that allow people with disabilities to live in the community. Multiple department secretaries have been confirmed who will weaken the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Another “ADA Notification” bill has already been introduced in Congress, providing unacceptable leeway for businesses that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Nevertheless, we’re persisting. And you can help! With your support, we can fight back against these changes and ensure that Americans with disabilities are provided the civil and human rights we deserve. Show us some love by donating today, and don’t forget to shop through our AmazonSmile link so NCIL can get a portion of the revenue from your purchases! We’re so grateful to have Valentines like you!

Election Assistance Commission Blog on Voters with Disabilities

On February 8, the Election Assistance Commission posted a blog based on feedback they received following the 2016 election from voters with disabilities. The blog details difficulties faced by a voter named Sharon, who explained the challenges she experienced as a person with a cognitive disability. Sharon explains, “when I called my election officials, I was told it could make the ballot void if signed in the wrong place. So I went into the polling place that day and was fortunate that I was having good healthy that day to go in and vote. I got the absentee ballot as often I’m homebound.” Read Sharon’s entire account in the blog post.

Acronyms Breakdown from the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee

The NCIL Veterans Subcommittee has expended energy figuring out how to engage consumers who are Veterans or active duty military. During this process, we realized that we do not always understand the communication and acronyms used by the military. So, we conducted some research and came up with a few terms we think would be useful for CIL staff to have. We have also included brief descriptions of the meaning of those terms.

The Veteran Subcommittee meets monthly and is always looking for new members. If you are interested in joining, please contact Marsha Unruh at

AUCD Leadership Academy

The AUCD Leadership Academy is a week-long program designed to enhance the skills of current and emerging leaders from the disability network in building coalitions that will improve systems of supports and services. The AUCD Leadership Academy seeks participants from UCEDDs, LENDs, and their disability partners to come together to immerse themselves for a week of study, shared experiences, self-evaluation, and skill development. Participants will continue to engage with their cohort, academy staff, local coaches, and national allies in the year following the experience. The academy will focus on the exploration of shared values and commitments to civil and human rights, assessments of personal and leadership strengths, skills in building partnerships to achieve collective impact, and establishing personal and professional leadership goals.


  • Daniel Crimmins, PhD, UCEDD and LEND Director, Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University
  • Andy Imparato, Executive Director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Christine Liao, MSW, Program Specialist, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Please Note:

  • There is NO cost for this webinar.
  • CEUs are not offered for this webinar.
  • For disability accommodations email Anna Costalasor call 301-588-8252.
  • This webinar will be archived.

We recommend that at least a day before the webinar that participants confirm your workstation has all the correct plug-ins to connect to the web based portion of the upcoming call by visiting the test webpage.

This webinar is presented by AUCD in partnership with the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University (GSU).

2017 Annual Conference Sponsorship, Advertising, and Exhibiting Opportunities

Revolution - A Global Independent Living Movement - Annual Conference on Independent Living 2017. Graphic: Continents have been added to NCIL's logo (a blue semi-circle), which forms a globe. A red heart sits between the end points of the semi-circle.NCIL’s 2017 Annual Conference on Independent Living will be held July 24-27 in Washington, DC. Generous support from sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers last year resulted in a Conference of nearly 1,500 participants! We seek your partnership as we begin to prepare for our 2017 Annual Conference celebration.

Due to last year’s attendance, NCIL’s tremendous successes in 2016, and excitement surrounding the theme, the buzz has already started for this year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living, Revolution – A Global Independent Living Movement.

Our Sponsorship Opportunities Booklet outlines opportunities for your consideration. We hope that you thoughtfully consider this opportunity to be part of our celebration and growth, and invite you to invest in our efforts to ensure equality for people with disabilities throughout the United States.

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is the longest-running national cross-disability and cross-age grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities.

Again, we appreciate your review of our exciting sponsorship, exhibiting, and advertising opportunities. Contact Cara Liebowitz at for further information.


Kelly Buckland, Executive Director

Cara Liebowitz, Development Coordinator