TO: The DMR Community
FROM: Gerry Morrissey
DATE: April 26, 2004
RE: Update 138

House FY05 Budget Recommendation

On April 14, 2004, the House Ways and Means Committee (HWM) released their Fiscal Year 2005 budget recommendation. The HWM budget recommends $1.047.7 billion for the Department of Mental Retardation and an additional $7.5 million in the Department of Education budget to continue funding the successful DOE/DMR project. The HWM budget for DMR represents an increase of $3.4 million increase over House 1. The budget fully annualizes the FY04 costs for the Boulet Settlement and the FY04 Turning 22 placements, and it fully funds Rolland placements. The HWM budget also recommends a $20 million salary reserve to adjust salaries for workers who deliver human and social services under contract by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

In FY 04, there was a $6 million service cut and $9 million administration cut in the DMR budget. Although the HWM budget restores many of the service cuts, it proposes further administrative cuts totaling nearly $1 million. This reduction would further exacerbate administrative shortfalls the Department has endured over the last couple of fiscal years. Just in FY04 alone, early retirement and layoffs have cut the number of DMR FTEs from 7,182 FTEs to 6,857 FTEs. Since June of 2001, the Department has lost nearly 530 employees.

Below is a description, by line-item, of the impact of the House Ways and Means recommended budget.

5911-1000 Administration - $13,102,349
HWM funds the DMR Administration account at $13,102,349. This funding proposed in the HWM budget will help cover the Department's projected $770,000 Unemployment Chargeback deficiency for FY05 (due to the unemployment rate increase from .03% to .05%, passed in November of 2003 by the Legislature). However, the Department is still under funded in this account by at least $204,000 for FY05.

5911-2000 Transportation - $13,239,367
House Ways and Means funds the Transportation account at $13,239,367. This funding level restores the amount that will allow for transportation to be continued for 789 consumers who would be affected by the $4.3 million reduction to this account.

5920-1000 Regional Administration - $51,469,518
HWM funds the Regional Administration account at $51,469,518. The House 1 Budget was for $52,228,078. At the HWM funding level, approximately 15 additional service coordinator positions will have to be cut. The total reduction of $1.76 million in the Regional Administration account means layoffs for approximately 35 of the 477 service coordinators. This account has been hard hit by staff reductions over the past three years and the layoff of additional service coordination staff will further strain the Department's capacity to work with individuals and families.

5920-2000 Community Residential - $476,614,523
House Ways and Means recommends $476,614,523 to fund the Community Residential Account. This amount would allow DMR to reduce the proposed cut to clinical services from $1.2 million to $353,035. Approximately 750 DMR consumers could be affected by this cut.

5920-2010 Community State Operated - $113,269,640
HWM funds the State Operated account at $113,269,640. House 1 had funded this account at $112,842,180. This increase would allow DMR to increase direct care staffing.

5920- 2020 Wait List - Boulet Settlement - $58,000,000
House Ways and Means recommends $58 million for Boulet. House 1 had recommended $70 million. The HWM recommendation consists of $55 million for maintenance and only $3 million of the $15 million required for new placements in FY05. This significant reduction to the request will hamper the Department's ability to do the 400 new placements required in FY05.

5920-2025 Day Services - $106,451,278
House Ways and Means recommends $106,451,278 for the Day Services account. The account will still be short by $2,720,000, and will result in a reduction in day and employment services to approximately 180 individuals rather than the 798 individuals originally anticipated based on a $12.1 million reduction.

5920-3000 Family Support/Respite Services - $48,800,000
House Ways and Means funds the Family Support account at $48,800,000. House 1 budget had recommended funding at $48,160,000.

5920-5000 Turning 22 - $6,467,670
The Turning 22 account is level funded from both FY04 and House 1. The amount is sufficient to serve the Turning 22 group in FY05.

5930-1000 Facilities - $160,220,259
HWM funds the Facilities account at the same level as House 1. This level of funding represents a $5 million reduction that will be managed through the ongoing closure of the Fernald Developmental Center and will involve the transfer of individuals among facilities and the community placement of others.

5982-1000 Templeton - $100,000
The Templeton retained revenue account is level funded for FY05 by House Ways and Means and will allow the department to continue selling milk. The funds are used to maintain the farm equipment at Templeton.

Richard Krant, Mary Lou Maloney, 15 Honored at DMR State House Recognition Ceremony

Over 300 people attended the DMR's Recognition Day ceremony, "In Partnership with Communities," that was held on Friday, March 26 in the Great Hall of the State House. Ted O'Brien, one of Boston's best known award winning broadcasters for nearly 30 years served as the master of ceremonies that honored 15 individuals and groups for their progress and accomplishments.

Commissioner Gerry Morrissey presented the Gunnar Dybwad Leadership Award to long-time advocates Richard Krant and Mary Lou Maloney. The award is named in honor of Dr. Gunnar Dybwad, Professor Emeritus, Brandeis University, who had worked on behalf of people with mental retardation and their families for more than 65 years. The Commissioner noted that this was the sixth presentation of the Dybwad Leadership Award. The previous recipients were Dr. Dybwad, Allen Crocker, MD, Florence Finkel, Dan Becker, Michael J. Daly and David M. Barthley, Ph.D.

Richard "Dick" Krant

The Department has benefited from the wise counsel and support of many family members and self-advocates. One individual, Richard "Dick" Krant, stands out. As the Department faced different challenges over the years concerning resources, policies, and practices affecting the lives of individuals with mental retardation and their families, Dick's perspective and opinions have carried significant weight within the MR community because he is a respected, committed and caring advocate, parent, and concerned citizen who has taken the time and energy over the past four decades to help improve how government supports people with disabilities.

Dick has contributed in many ways to improving the services and supports for persons with mental retardation in the community and in the facilities. He had served on the DMR Investigations Advisory Panel chaired by Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel. The Panel's recommendations led to systems changes that included interdisciplinary teams supporting criminal investigation of felonies involving victims with a disability, and to the establishment of Complaint Resolution Teams (CRT) where citizen volunteers work with the Department to assure the timely reporting, investigation, and response to allegations of abuse and mistreatment.

Dick remains an active advocate. He continues to volunteer on several boards that include the Metro Boston CRT, the Wrentham Developmental Center Board of Trustees, the Newton/South Norfolk Area Board, the Southeast Regional CAB and until recently, the Statewide Advisory Council. He is a member of CoFAR, an advocacy organization, and the Friends of Wrentham, a fund raising group. Dick also serves as the guardian for several individuals residing at Wrentham.

Mary Lou Maloney

Over the years Mary Lou has exemplified Gunnar's ideals regarding commitment, compassion, bridging differences, and inspiring people to act. She has been an involved and committed advocate for mental retardation for decades. She has successfully mentored families and individuals about the power of their advocacy in educating the Legislature and public about mental retardation and service needs.

Over the several decades, Mary Lou has been a pioneer in a number of arenas. She started the Fortune House in Jamaica Plain, one of the first community residences for men and women with mental retardation. She led the advocacy for the passage of the Turning 22 legislation and then took on the implementation of the Turning 22 program. Beginning in the late 1990's and continuing today, Mary Lou has played an instrumental role in supporting the "Family to Family" collaboration composed of the DMR Citizens Advisory Boards, Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change and the ArcMA. "Family to Family" is dedicated to addressing the need for community placements of individuals with mental retardation living with elderly caregivers. Today there are 15 "Family to Family" Support Centers actively supporting more than 500 families through networking events, educational seminars, and clinical supports.

The State House was the culmination of a series of events in the MR community held in March to commemorate Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities month. Regional, facility, and area offices working in concert with families and boards, hosted a series of local events, conferences, legislative receptions and recognition ceremonies, to honor the accomplishments of people with developmental disabilities.

The 15 individual and group honorees from across the Commonwealth were:

CENTRAL / WEST REGION

Bobby Eaton
Retiring after several decades at the Monson Developmental Center, Bobby has remained a very active guardian for six individuals. He takes them on trips and vacations, attends local events, serves as their advocate, stays abreast of medical issues and takes them to medical appointments. He also directs the guardianship program at Jericho, a community organization that integrates individuals with disabilities into church and community activities. Bobby is one of only two people in the Commonwealth who serves on a facility, area, and regional Citizen Advisory Board. He also serves on the Springfield/Westfield Complaint Resolution Team.

Cynthia Lull
Cindy is a program manager at a residence in Gardner where her efforts have helped promote community inclusion for the five men who live there. She has instituted a successful health and wellness program that has led to some of the men becoming Special Olympic swimmers. Through their use of the town pool to train, they convinced pool staff to become instructors. They are on a first name basis with the Mayor and legislators. Cindy and the men also host an annual "Octoberfest," a "must see" talent show.

Family Advisory Board of Greater Athol Area Advocates for Families with Special Needs
Kathy Coles, Frances Graziano, and Marliene LeClaire
The Family Advisory Board began in 1989 to address the needs of families and individuals living in the North Quabbin area. They focused on strengthening community connections and legislative awareness regarding issues related to mental retardation. The Board has partnered with the Town of Athol to provide after school supports for youth with disabilities. They also host a Community Open House Block Party that brings family members, other citizens, service providers, business people and legislators together. Families are able to share their experience in raising a child with disabilities with legislators and legislators can learn more about the services and supports available to their constituents.

NORTHEAST REGION

Rosalie Edes, Executive Director, Minute Man Arc for Human Services
Stephen Hay, Executive Director, Concord Housing Authority
Two organizations, led by problem-solving visionaries, came together in response to the housing needs of people with disabilities. Minute Man supported individuals who needed affordable housing; the Concord Housing Authority had vacancies. Rosalie and Stephen used their longstanding collaborative relationship to develop a transitional living program for people with disabilities. Concord Housing provided the housing units. Minute Man provided staffing. The residents can now access and use the banks, the library, commuter rail, and stores in town, as well as, get involved in social and religious organizations, and pursue employment opportunities.

Community Connections -Diane Linnehan (Chairperson), Sharda Ramlackhan, Susan Zottoli, Marcia Regner, Claude Portelle, Mei Ling Diep, Kathy Cullen, Sandy Vadenais
Community Connections is a parent-directed family support program serving families in the Greater Lowell area for more than six years. Managed by parents, Community Connections has recognized the value of family time activities in a supportive, safe, and fun environment. Activities include swim parties, movies, holiday parties, and trips to Lowell Spinner games where families can enjoy each other's company and raise community awareness about the needs and strengths of families with disabilities. Community Connections also hosts an annual "River Walk" fundraiser that also heightens community awareness about disability issues.

Rocco (Rocky) Louis DiFruscio
Joseph is an individual who was living in North Andover with his mother when he and Rocky met. The St. Vincent de Paul Society, which is affiliated with Rocky's church, was assisting Joe's family in coping with Mom's declining health and her need to move out of the family home. During this transition, an enduring and special friendship blossomed between Joseph and Rocky. Joseph now lives in Ipswich in a shared living situation. He and Rocky continue to spend time together, talking and going on long walks.

SOUTHEAST REGION

John Eliot Jordan - Duxbury High School Senior, Kathy Dunn - Guidance Counselor,
Best Buddies Participants
After he matriculated to Duxbury High School, John Eliot Jordan's hope of establishing a Best Buddies program was made a reality with the help of the school guidance counselor, Kathy Dunn. There are now hundreds of Duxbury High School students who are active members of Best Buddies. There is also a chapter being started in the Middle School. Best Buddies is an international program promoting one-on-one friendships with people with intellectual disabilities. The Duxbury Chapter is one of the more successful projects. Friendships are nurtured through social events held throughout the year, fundraisers, and a talent show. Some members made their screen debut as extras in the Matt Damon movie, "Stuck on You."

Bradford Norman, South Shore YMCA at Mill Pond
As the Facilities Director and the Community Services and Volunteer Director, Brad is a visible and vocal supporter of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. He currently employs fourteen individuals with disabilities at the South Shore YMCA at Mill Pond. His management style, team meetings, and participation in the Arc's Dinner Club let's employees, Y members, and support staff all know that people with disabilities warrant support to be successful and autonomy to do their job when they've earned it.

Bob Murray, Executive Director of Falmouth Housing Authority
For many years Bob worked with the Department, families, and provider agencies to secure affordable housing for people with mental retardation. Working with a non-profit development corporation in Falmouth, Bob has developed sixteen units of affordable housing specifically for people with disabilities. He designed the housing, arranged the financing, and met with the DMR Area Office to identify individuals to live there. The housing design has won a Boston Globe and other awards. This housing is in its third year of operations. Bob continues to work with the tenants, the Department and families to assure a safe and quality living environment.

METRO REGION

Cathy Dennis, Director Choice Community Supports, Rob Dixon, Director of Project Rise
A peer-tutoring program where Thayer Academy students tutor individuals served by Choice Community Supports every Saturday was established through the initiative and efforts of Cathy and Rob. This program, in its second year of operations, provides a mutually beneficial learning environment for the student-tutors and individuals with disabilities. The program has enabled relationships to blossom beyond the classroom. Thayer students get together with the new friends for dinner, family and social events.

Charles "Chick" Merchant
Chick is a retired Computer Systems Manager with a commitment to making his community a better place. Since 1991, he has volunteered with Bay Path Elder Services Money Management Program. He currently helps six individuals who live in Framingham. Chick has not only helped them avoid unnecessary debt. He has helped them develop money management skills, get tax refunds, and access other community services ranging from health insurance to banking services that stretch their dollars further. Chick's problem-solving skills, creativity and compassion help individuals to achieve and maintain maximum independence in their lives.

The Old Country Store of the Norfolk Adult Day Health Program
Officers include: Mary Fuoco, Robert Baily, Lucille Fogarty, Florence Kissell, Joe Breen, Everett Lucas, James McKenzie, Anthony Tieso
Members of the Norfolk Adult Day Health program established and manage the "Old Country Store." They stock, inventory, and sell items such as candy, small gifts, holiday items, and greeting cards to consumers on the worksite as well as to elderly residents of area nursing homes. The officers run the store meetings where assignments, marketing opportunities and other business matters are discussed. Officers and other employees have developed self-advocacy and organizational skills, and have learned to work as a team.

DEVELOPMENTAL CENTERS

James O'Brien
Jim is a highly effective and creative advocate, who as a clinical social worker at the Wrentham Developmental Center, helps individuals with complex behaviors develop social opportunities and to connections within their community. He organizes the annual "Senior Friendship Party" where seniors from are invited to join the seniors living at the Center for an afternoon of music, dance, food, and fun. Through the friendships built through this and other activities, Wrentham residents have been invited to town senior events and have joined community organizations.

Roland Charpentier
Roland has been at the forefront of important social advances for the past 40 years. Roland serves as the guardian for his brother. He continues his advocacy for his brother and others with mental retardation as a member of the Statewide Advisory Council, the Glavin and North Central Complaint Resolution Teams, and the Glavin Human Rights Committee. He is currently working with DMR, the Shrewsbury Housing Authority, and Department of Housing and Community Development to build two homes for people with mental retardation.

Mary Ellen Tolo
As a nurse at the Templeton Developmental Center, Mary Ellen directed a program focusing on individuals who had been unsuccessful in previous program and work settings and had difficulties building and keeping relationships. Since her retirement, Mary Ellen has become a guardian for two people. One individual has an aging mother living in Florida. As the mother's health deteriorated, she asked Mary Ellen to be her son's guardian. And several times each year, Mary Ellen accompanies the son on a visit to his mother. The other individual has no close family relationship. Mary Ellen has welcomed him into her family and they share holidays, special occasions and sometimes, just time together.

Premiere Screening of Three Videos for Families and Individuals

The Department and Family to Family hosted the premiere screening of three videos, "Facing the Future," "Options for the Future," and "Planning for the Future" at the Arc of South Norfolk County on April 12th. These videos are the product of the continuing partnership and collaboration between "Family to Family" and DMR in supporting individuals and families, particularly families with older caregivers.

About 100 attendees came to celebrate and screen the videos. Recognition and acknowledgement were given to the individuals, caregivers, and other cast members of the videos as well as to the continuing important work performed by the "Family to Family" Support Center and DMR staff. Special recognition was given to Bill Allan who produced the videos.

Northeast Residential Services Competes in Special Olympic Winter Games

Team NRS followed up its debut at the SOMA Fall Senior Sports Classic by participating in the 2004 SOMA Winter Olympics held in the Worcester area March 5-7th. The Winter Olympics had competitions in a number of sports, including downhill and cross-country skiing, figure and speed skating, basketball, floor hockey, and ten-pin bowling.

The ten-pin bowling competition took place at the Auburn Lanes. Team NRS fielded 10 athletes from 6 NRS homes, along with 8 volunteers. Team NRS's final medal tally was 5 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze. All team members were pleased not only that they did well, but also that they were able to reacquaint themselves with familiar friends and competitors.

Seventeen Graduates from Middlesex Community College Direct Support Program

Seventeen students graduated from Middlesex Community College's Direct Support Certificate Program on January 29, 2004. The graduation ceremony was held at Middlesex Community College (MCC), Lowell Campus where Julie Mirras, Coordinator of the Direct Support Certificate Program at Middlesex Community College, as well as other faculty and administrators of MCC, offered their congratulations to the graduates.

To date 120 have graduated from the three participating community colleges' Direct Support Certificate Program in the Northeast Region: Middlesex Community College, Lowell; North Shore Community College, Lynn; Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA. Ninety-six of these 120 graduates (81%) are working for DMR-funded providers and more still are working in the field of human services and developmental disabilities - a wonderful success rate! Many of the graduates remain at the same agencies and have been promoted.


This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.