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

HCBS Conference: Call for Sessions is Now Open

The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) is pleased to announce the Call for Sessions for the 2018 National Home and Community Based Services Conference, August 27- August 30, 2018 in Baltimore, MD.

The HCBS Conference shines a spotlight on how states and partners have developed promising practices, developed with innovative systems, and formed unique partnerships. We are seeking original, thought-provoking education sessions that enable national attendees to hear about creative approaches, new ideas, innovative models, and emerging trends as well as topics that address the pressing issues facing aging and disability programs. Submit Your Session Today!  [Read more…]

Call for Presenters – 2018 Independent Living Conference: Collaboration & Solidarity

  • When: June 6, 2018
  • Where: Sacramento, CA

There is no better time than now to build and cultivate our disability community partnerships. The goal of this year’s conference is to cultivate our relationships and build on our solidarity. Local, regional, statewide and national organizations that are focused, proactive and looking for ways to make positive change in collaboration with Independent Living Centers are encouraged to submit a conference proposal.

Please consider submitting a brief workshop proposal. Multiple presenters and panel presentations are welcome. Workshop length: 75 minutes.

Seeking Workshops Proposal for the Following Tracks

  • Long-Term Services & Support
  • Youth Transition
  • Intersectionality
  • Emergency Readiness & Recovery
  • Effective Systems Change/Community Organizing Campaigns

Proposal Deadline: Workshop proposals are due by March 12, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. Read more at the CFILC website.

Verizon Public Policy Summer Internship

Source: Verizon

This internship position – which is part of the Verizon Campus Program – will give you a chance to channel your drive and enthusiasm while learning from the best minds in the industry. You’ll be front and center, hands-on and contributing your creative energy to high-impact projects from the moment you arrive through the course of this 10-week experience. You will take part in meaningful work and real-life projects within the Public Policy Organization that will help you grow both professionally and personally throughout the program.

Verizon’s Public Policy, Law and Security organization represents and protects the company’s legal, security, and regulatory interests at federal, state, local, and international levels. Public Policy internships at Verizon provide the opportunity for exposure to federal regulatory affairs, federal legislative affairs, public policy development, strategic alliances and communications. Public Policy internships are located in Washington, DC. Read more at Verizon’s website.

Call for Proposals: AIRS 2018 I&R Training and Education Conference

The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has released the call for proposals for the 2018 Annual Information and Referral (I&R) Training and Education Conference. This 40th annual I&R conference is being held in Dallas, Texas, June 3-6, 2018. AIRS is seeking workshops addressing the breadth of I&R service delivery.

The Aging and Disability conference track offers a unique opportunity to share developments and effective practices in serving older adults, persons with disabilities, and caregivers with I&R/A colleagues across the country. This track is coordinated by NASUAD’s I&R Support Center, which strongly encourages aging and disability I&R agencies of all types to review the call for proposals and consider a submission. The deadline for proposal submissions is February 16, 2018[Read more…]

NCIL Welcomes Sheryl Grossman As Community Living Advocate

The National Council on Independent Living is excited to welcome Sheryl Grossman to the position of Community Living Advocate as part of the National Organizing Project, funded by the Ford Foundation. The Community Living Advocate will work with both NCIL and ADAPT to advocate for community integration on Capitol Hill, track and analyze community living and home and community-based services (HCBS) policy and trends, and coordinate community organizing trainings.

Sheryl smiles at the camera against a beige wallSheryl has over two decades of experience working with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and disability rights organizations across the country. She has been a pillar in many ADAPT chapters and has become well known for her work lobbying members of Congress to support the Disability Integration Act (DIA).

“Sheryl’s familiarity with not only NCIL and ADAPT, but the issues at stake, made her an ideal candidate for this position,” said Kelly Buckland, NCIL Executive Director. “With her help, we will continue the crucial work begun by ADAPT and NCIL last summer to advance community living for all people with disabilities.”

We’re thrilled to have Sheryl and thank the Ford Foundation again for their support.

Take Action to Save MFP!

Last month, Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227) to reauthorize the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program. MFP expired on September 30, 2016, and states are starting to scale back and end their MFP programs. But because there has not been a lot of public attention on MFP, very few members of Congress are aware of the need to reauthorize and fund it.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingMFP was enacted in 2005 with strong bipartisan support. It was designed to help states transition people with disabilities from institutions into the community, and to assist states in rebalancing their long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems to increase access to home and community-based services. MFP is one of the longest running, most successful Medicaid demonstrations. Since it began, 47 states have participated and over 75,000 disabled people have been liberated from institutions, and Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have played a critical role in that.

Congress must work to save and fund MFP, and they need to hear from us! Please urge your Senators to continue the Money Follows the Person program by supporting the EMPOWER Care Act!

Take Action Now!

  • Participate in Thursday’s National Call-In Day! Call your Senators and tell them to support the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227) and pass it immediately! Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Find more information at Thursday’s Facebook event. RSVP and share widely!
  • Participate in Friday’s National Social Media Day! Tweet at your Senators and post on Facebook. Find your Senators’ Twitter handles and other contact information on Contacting Congress. Make sure to use the hashtag #FundMFP in your posts. You can find more information, including sample Tweets, at Friday’s Facebook event.
  • Email your members of Congress before February 8! You can customize a message to your members of Congress and see the data on responses.
  • Highlight MFP in the press! Arrange press interviews highlighting the stories of folks who were able to move home because of MFP, or individuals who are stuck in institutions and would benefit from MFP’s extension. Media coverage can be key to gaining the support of members of Congress AND the public. If you successfully get the press to cover MFP, please send a link of the coverage to

Share Your Experiences with the New 704/ Program Performance Reports

The NCIL Rehabilitation Act / Independent Living Funding Subcommittee is looking for input from CILs and SILCs on their experiences with the new 704 / Program Performance Reports (PPR) and the ACL Reporting system. Please share your experiences with us. The deadline to complete the survey has been extended to by Friday, February 23, 2018!

To participate, complete the survey online. The survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes.

The survey is also available in Word and plain text and can be emailed back to

Action Alert: Invite Your Members of Congress to the 2018 NCIL Congressional Briefing & Reception on Capitol Hill!

Logo: 2018 Congressional Briefing and Reception. Graphic features the US Capitol BuildingDear NCIL Members,

It’s time for the annual NCIL Congressional Briefing & Reception on Capitol Hill! If you are in the DC area, we hope you will join us. Please see the event details and RSVP at our website.

Wherever you are, we are asking for your help to get your members of Congress to attend this briefing. NCIL, as the national advocate for CILs, SILCs, and the Independent Living philosophy, has the mission of being your voice in Washington DC and representing your interests. NCIL hosts this annual briefing and reception in order to educate members of Congress on a number of relevant policy initiatives that aim to advance disability rights and the ability of people with disabilities to live more independently.

There is a lot at stake for our community in 2018. This event is a great opportunity for your members of Congress to learn more about the issues affecting our members, and they will hopefully leave better equipped to vote in the interests of the Independent Living community.

To invite your members, simply email the customizable invitation below to your Senators and Representatives, and urge them to attend! They are much more likely to attend if they hear from constituents within their home districts, so we are really counting on our members to make this event a success.

Follow the links below to find contact information for your state’s Representatives and Senators. You will likely have to submit an email using the form on their website.

Sample Invitation Letter

Dear [Senator or Representative’s Name],

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) would like to invite you and your staff to our Congressional Briefing & Reception on the State of Disability in America. With so much at stake in 2018, our members want to ensure that our elected officials understand the issues that are most important to our community. The event will take place on Wednesday, February 28 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Russell Senate Office Building 385.

I am your constituent, and I am inviting you to attend this year’s event because it is important to me that my elected officials strongly support their constituents with disabilities. Last year’s NCIL Briefing was extremely successful, and was well attended by leaders in the disability community, the Administration, and both parties in Congress. NCIL was proud to host an engaging event on the Hill in 2017, and we invite you to start of 2018 with the same spirit of progress and collaboration.

NCIL is America’s oldest cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), individuals with disabilities, and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States. There are currently over 700 locations across America providing Independent Living services.

We are looking forward to an exciting event this year. We would like to thank Anthem, Inc. for the continued support, and Senator Casey for sponsoring the room for this event. If you plan to attend, please RSVP at the link below or to NCIL’s Policy Analyst, Lindsay Baran, at by Thursday, February 22, 2018.

NCIL Congressional Briefing & Reception
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Russell Senate Office Building 385


[Your Name]

Sign up to be a 2018 Day of Mourning Vigil Site Coordinator

In the past five years, over 550 people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents.

Vigil CandlesEvery year on March 1, the disability community gathers across the nation to remember disabled victims of filicide (disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers).

We see the same pattern repeating over and over again. A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a disabled person in the family. If the parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims are disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.

Since 2012, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, the American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc, and other disability rights organizations have come together at local vigils across the country to mourn those losses, bring awareness to these tragedies, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities. On March 1, 2018 we will come together again, and we ask you to join us.

Site coordinators are a vital part of the Disability Day of Mourning. Site coordinators secure space in their communities to hold a vigil, do outreach to community members leading up to the vigil, and document their vigils through pictures or videos to honor those lost to filicide.

More Information and Resources:

CIL-NET Presents: A National Learning Collaborative on Youth Transition at Centers for Independent Living

Are you excited to develop a youth transition program at your Center for Independent Living (CIL), but need a little help to get there?

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETCIL-NET is offering an exciting new approach to support CILs that are ready to make a commitment to young people with disabilities!

Goal of the Collaborative: To develop and implement new or additional youth transition services at your CIL through the creation of a Program-Centered Plan focused on youth’s interests and needs and agency capacity.

What is a Learning Collaborative?

A learning collaborative is an interactive group process to improve programs and performance through progressive learning, action, and planning.

The National Learning Collaborative on Youth Transition at Centers for Independent Living is much more than training. From March to December of 2018, our facilitators will work with a dedicated group of CILs to support one another as they plan to create or expand their youth transition programs. It involves a commitment of time and resources to complete an actionable plan. Participants in the collaborative will learn alongside and support one another. A successful collaborative requires commitment, teamwork, and follow-through. Therefore, we are asking interested individuals to apply to participate. A maximum of 12 CILs will be selected for participation with a maximum of 2 individuals per CIL. Applicants must have the authority and the resources to participate fully and to be ready to go once the collaborative participants are selected. Applicants must be available and prepared to participate in all collaborative activities, including monthly group calls, planning work between calls, and an onsite meeting at the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (Allentown, PA) on April 4 and 5, 2018. Group and individual work between calls is estimated at 6-10 hours a month. Facilitation of the collaborative is provided by ILRU, NCIL, and Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) staff.  [Read more…]