TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Elin M. Howe
DATE: May 19, 2008
RE: Update 157

Fiscal Year 2009 SWM Budget Recommendations for DMR

On May 14, 2008, the Senate Ways and Means Committee released its FY09 budget recommendation that funds Department of Mental Retardation at $1,277,237,624 . It also recommends $8 million for the DMR/DOE program and $23 million to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance for provider salary reserve.

The SWM budget recommendation for DMR is $4.15 million less than the maintenance budget requested by the Department for FY09. However, the SWM budget recommendation does represent a $28.8 million increase from the Department's FY08 Final budget. This increase consists of a $10.8 million transfer of the FY08 salary reserve funds, $9.96 million for annualization of the FY08 Turning 22 funding, $7.7 million for the new Turning 22 class, $3.37 million of reductions for collective bargaining, workers' compensation, rent increases, and other mandatory contractual increases, and $3.73 million of expansion. The expansion was for the Autism and Family Support accounts.

The Senate Ways and Means recommendation is $5.55 million less than the House Final budget. While the recommendation includes a $1.3 million increase for the Autism and Family Support accounts over the House Final number, it also includes $6.8 million of reductions. This includes over $3.3 million of reductions to the accounts funding DMR employees and the elimination of the $2.25 million recommended in the House Final budget for the Residential Rate account (5920-2020).

Below is a description by DMR line item, the Fiscal Year 2009 budget recommendations of the Senate Ways and Means (SWM) and the Fiscal Year 2009 House Final budget recommendations that came out on April 15, 2008.

Administration and Operations
House Final: $77,575,612 SWM: $73,213,906
The Senate Ways and Means recommendation is $4,361,706 less than the House's recommendation and represents a $1.3 million payroll cut and the transfer funds to cover certain payroll related costs to other accounts.

House Final: $14,137,324 SWM: $14,137,324
This account is funded at the FY09 budget maintenance request.

Community Residential
House Final: $569,334,202 SWM: $568,961,352
The Community Residential account is $372,850 less than the amount recommended by the House but includes $13.1 million of FY08 annualized Turning 22 funding and $8.6 million of FY08 annualized salary reserve funds.

Residential Rate Initiative
House Final: $2,250,000 SWM: $0
The Senate Ways and Means Committee recommends eliminating funding for the Residential Rate Initiative.

Community State Operated
House Final: $136,245,115 SWM: $137,187,683
The recommended funding of $137,187,683 for the Community State Operated account is higher than the House's recommendation by $942,000, due to the transfer of $1.54 million of payroll related charges from the 5911-1003 account. Thus, the $137.19 million recommended by the SWM is actually a $600,000 reduction.

Boulet Settlement
House Final: $88,173,986 SWM: $87,971,902
The Senate Ways and Means recommendation of $87,971.902 for the Boulet account is $202,084 less than the amount recommended in the final House budget. It is $368,000 short of the Department's request, which had included $415,000 of annualized salary reserve dollars.

Community Day:
House Final: $128,959,457 SWM: $128,859,457
The $100,000 difference in the Day and Work account is attributable to the SWM's removal of an earmark.

Respite/Family Support:
House Final: $55,294,228 SWM: $55,994,228
The Senate Ways and Means recommendation of $55,994,228 for the Family Support represents a $700,000 increase over the House Final recommendation for this account and includes one $50,000 earmark.

Autism Services
House Final: $5,421,753 SWM: $6,064,413
The Senate Ways and Means recommendation is $643,000 higher than the House Final recommendation for this account.

Turning 22
House Final: $7,700,000 SWM: $7,700,000
The Senate Ways and Means recommends that the Turning 22 first year placements remain at the FY 2008 level of $7.7 million.

House Final: $187,545,814 SWM: $186,997,359
The Facilities account recommendation is $548,455 lower than the House Final budget recommendation and $1.2 million lower than the Governor's House 2 request for this account. It is also $2.72 million less than the Department's maintenance request.

Templeton Farm
House Final: $150,000 SWM: $150,000
This retained revenue account is recommended by the Senate Ways and Means to remain at the FY08 funding level of $150,000.

MRDD State House Celebration Held on March 26th

DMR and the Statewide Advisory Council (SAC) held its annual State House Celebration on March 26, 2008, in the Great Hall. More than three hundred individuals, family members, providers, legislators, DMR staff, and other citizens attended. The 2008 theme was" Celebrating Independence: Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination." Channel 5 Meteorologist, Mike Wankum, hosted the event.

The 2008 Gunnar Dybwad Leadership Award was presented to Jeffrey Keilson in recognition for his work and efforts in promoting inclusion, independence, and human rights for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This was also the inaugural year for the DMR Commissioner's Exemplar Awards which acknowledge individuals, families and organizations that have contributed to enhancing the quality of life of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The awardees were Robert Herlich, Celia Brown, Western Mass Training Consortium, Inc., the Fernandez Family Restaurant in Holyoke, the Robinson Sandwich Shoppe in Lowell and the Honorable Karen E. Spilka, State Senator, Second Middlesex and Norfolk District.

Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, addressed the gathering and highlighted three initiatives, the Community First Initiative, the Systems Transformation Grant, and the Olmstead planning activities that support self-determination and promote opportunities for individuals to choose and manage their services and supports. Dr. Bigby also swore in the following appointed members of the DMR Statewide Advisory Council (SAC): Ronald A. Asbjornson, Lisa Ching, Denise Daley, Maria Damiano, Maria Freccero, Henry Paszko, and Christine L. Shane. For more information and pictures from the event, go to the DMR website where you will find the story about the State House Recognition Event under "What's New."

"MRS Speaks Out" Members meet with State Officials

Members of the group known as MRS Speaks Out met with Governor Patrick and their state representatives during their visits to the State House in March and asked them to support the bill (H1876) that will change the name of the Department of Mental Retardation.

SAC Elects New Officers

At the April 18, 2008 meeting of the DMR Statewide Advisory Council, new officers were elected. Christine Shane was elected to serve as the Chair, Maria Freccero as the Vice Chair and Henry Paszko as the Secretary. Congratulations to all.

24 th Annual Human Rights Conference - June 10 th at DCU in Worcester

This year's theme for the Human Rights Conference is "Finding Passion for People." Commissioner Elin Howe will kick off the conference. Charles Carr, Commissioner for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and long time advocate, will be the keynote speaker. Secretary JudyAnn Bigby of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services will address the conference after lunch. Registration for the conference is now underway! See the DMR web-page ( Under the"What's New" section, you will find the program and the registration form.

DMR Berkshire Area Office on Team to Go to MPS Institute

David Daniels from the Berkshire Area Office is on the 5-member Berkshire County Area Transportation Planning team selected through a competitive application process by the Easter Seals Project ACTION's Mobility Planning Services Institute (MPS) to attend the 2008 MPS institute training session in Washington, DC the week of April 21-24, 2008. The purpose of the MPS Institute is to support communities demonstrating a commitment to improving accessible transportation. The Berkshire team will work on removing existing transportation barriers for citizens with physical and/or developmental disabilities. The team's other members are: Jana Brule, Project Manager Berkshire Rides Community, Kathryn Bos, Special Needs Teacher Lenox Middle/High School, Kerry Sullivan, Legislative Aid State Rep Smitty Pignatelli, Ann Hayes: School Library Media Specialist and person with a disability, active UCP member and advocate.

Northeast Region's Direct Support Professional Conference March 2008

The Northeast Region's Regional Training Council in partnership with Middlesex, North Shore and Northern Essex Community Colleges co-sponsored its fifth 2008 Direct Support Professional Conference-DSP: The Key to Quality Lives which was held . This year's conference was held at the Danvers Campus of North Shore Community College on March 12, 2008. The conference day included a keynote presentation, "The Direct Support Professional: The Key to Quality Lives," presented by DMR Commissioner Elin Howe. The 231 conference attendees enjoyed a day of learning and professional development, selecting from 10 different workshops, a day of networking and opportunities to meet peers, a day of renewal and commitment, and a day of recognition and celebration for their invaluable work supporting people with developmental disabilities.

Northeast Region's Creating and Supporting Connections Conference April 2008

On April 29, 2008, the Northeast Region held its second Creating and Supporting Connections Conference that was attended by 191 people. This conference promoted the importance of and practical ways to create and maintain meaningful community integration and connections and relationships for people with developmental disabilities. Daniela Morse of The Shared Living Collaborative, delivered the keynote address. A regional work group, chaired by Rick Camara of the Central Middlesex Area Office, sponsored this workshop and continues its work to foster effective and meaningful social connections and community integration for persons with developmental disabilities.

Temple Grandin Conference: Animals in Translation & Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

Back by popular demand was a one-day conference Animals in Translation & Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. DMR Northeast Region Occupational Therapy Department and T.H.E. FARM Equestrian Program hosted Temple Grandin Ph.D. that 373 persons attended at the Tewksbury Hospital on April 11, 2008. A gifted animal scientist, Dr. Grandin described how she uses her unique way of thinking as an autistic person to help her study animal behavior previously not examined nor understood. She spoke on autism as a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are unique. Dr. Grandin is a tremendous advocate for good quality of life and employment opportunities for people with autism.

Lifelinks 1 st Graduation of US Department of Labor's Registered Direct Support Specialists

After four years of academic instruction and proving competency on 279 direct support tasks, Viola Kollie Beh, Tracy Gutu, Jonathan Karanja, Linda Bull and Mary Ann Perrin, LifeLinks' employees, became the first US Department of Labor (DOL) Registered Direct Support Specialists in the state of Massachusetts. All have earned pay raises through out their participation in the training program and are now qualified to mentor a peer through the apprenticeship process. Jill Houser, US DOL Regional Executive Assistant of the Office of Apprenticeship Training; David Wallace, DOL Mass. Director of Apprenticeship Training; Mark Wolfe, Community Systems Director of DMR, NE Region; Alfred Nazzaro, DMR Greater Lowell Area Director; and Michael Durkin, CEO of United Way Mass Bay & MV assisted with presentation of certificates and accolades at the graduation ceremony held on March 27 th in Chelmsford. These five people give others the confidence that they can also join the ranks of a small, but growing force of Department of Labor registered, licensed direct support specialists across the nation. Lifelinks has the only US Department of Labor's Registered Direct Support Specialists Apprenticeship program in Massachusetts.

Lowell Area Office in the Northeast Region's 1 st Children's Forum

This year, several family support agencies from Lowell together with the Lowell Area Office hosted the first Children's Forum at the Middlesex Community College on March 17th. Two panels presented: one on traditional family support programs and the second on recreational, assisted technology and more non-traditional support services. Over 60 people attended who appreciated the simultaneous Spanish and Khmer translation provided and the opportunity provided to learn more about the DMR community and the help available for children with cognitive disabilities.

CMARC of the Northeast Region Opens New Program

Central Middlesex ARC (CMARC) recently opened its newest day habilitation and employment and training programs in Westford, Massachusetts. The new facility features a sensory integration environment, an art and music center, gymnasium, and a Career Development Center.

Middlesex West Recognition Celebration

The Middlesex West Area Office and Citizen Advisory Board hosted its biannual recognition event on Wednesday evening, March 26th at the Plymouth Church in Framingham. An audience of 125 people recognized citizen volunteers, staff, agencies, and local businesses for their contributions to individuals in the Middlesex West Area with intellectual disabilities. Music for the evening was provided by the 'Respite Singers' comprised of individuals who attend the Michael C. Lisnow Respite Center day program in Hopkinton.

Jane McCue Magner receives Sheila Porter Nurse Practitioner Preceptor Award for Excellence

The University of Massachusetts, Graduate School of Nursing awarded Jane McDue Magner with the Sheila Porter Excellence Award in recognition of her work in mentoring, teaching and advocating for nurse practitioner students. Ms. Magner is a nurse practitioner and a member of the Human Rights Committee at the Glavin Regional Center. Congratulations.

Wrentham's 51 st Annual Employee Achievement Recognition Dinner Dance

On Friday, June 6, 2008, Wrentham Developmental Center will celebrate its 51 st Annual Employees' Achievement Recognition Dinner Dance at the Twin River Event Center. Wrentham's former and current employees are invited to join in honoring and recognizing fellow co-workers for outstanding achievement and professional milestones. The Employee of Year and the Calorio Award for excellence in services and supports will be announced that night.

This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.