Disability Rights Montana

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So far Disability Rights Montana has created 22 blog entries.
Sep 21, 2021

FY22 Priorities and Objectives Draft for Comment

By |2021-09-21T09:23:34-06:00September 21st, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Disability Rights Montana logo: outline of state of Montana, scales of justice, and a stick figure in a wheelchair

Disability Rights Montana, Montana’s protection and advocacy system, is developing its priorities and objectives for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year that starts October 1, 2021. We depend on people with disabilities, family members of people with disabilities, and the public to tell us what disability issues are most important. Please review the draft of our 2022 Priorities and Objectives and provide comments via Advocate@DisabilityRightsMT.org or by calling 1-406-449-2344.

2022 Priorities and Objectives Draft

Sep 13, 2021

Board of Directors Meeting Agenda – September 24, 2021

By |2021-09-13T11:54:46-06:00September 13th, 2021|Board of Directors|0 Comments

AGENDA
Board of Directors Meeting
September 24, 2021 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

9:00 a.m. Call to Order
Notice of Meeting
Conflict of Interest Check
Approval of Minutes
Donna Gleaves
9:15 a.m. Executive Committee Report
Donna Gleaves
9:30 a.m. Legislative / Government Affairs Committee Report
Joel Peden
9:45 a.m. PAIMI Report
Kathie Waters, PAIMI Advisory Council Vice Chair
10:00 a.m. Governance Committee Report
Bylaws Update
Kathie Waters
10:15 a.m. Fundraising Committee Report
Will Warberg
10:30 a.m. Finance / Audit Committee Report
Board Training: a deep dive into the financials
Financial report through 8.31.2021
FY22 Budget
Tami Hoar and Kelli Kaufman
11:45 a.m. Mission Moment
Ally Seneczko and Christa Gabriel
12:00 p.m. Lunch with Staff
1:15 p.m. Executive Director Report
Priorities and Objectives
Staff update
Grievance Report
Liability and Officers and Directors Insurance
Director of Finance search
Strategic Plan Planning
Conference
Bernadette Franks-Ongoy
2:30 p.m. Executive Session
Personnel
3:15 p.m. Public Comments / Announcements / Planning for next meeting
3:30 p.m. Adjourn Meeting
Sep 8, 2021

Masking in Schools

By |2021-09-08T13:35:04-06:00September 8th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

At Disability Rights Montana, we work to protect every student’s right to safely access in-person education with their peers. Without masking in schools, many students with disabilities, and especially those with medical conditions putting them at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, are having to choose between their health and safety, and their education. Efforts to prevent masking in schools are putting children with disabilities at risk and preventing them from equally participating in their education.

The Office for Civil Rights is investigating states where governments have banned public schools from requiring students to wear masks. The bans on mask requirements, according to the OCR, may be preventing school districts from meeting the individual needs of students with disabilities or otherwise allowing discrimination based on disability, in violation of the law.[1]

If your child cannot wear a mask because of their disability, they have a right to an accommodation or modification of the school’s mask policies. You can request an accommodation from the School District for your child. We’ve provided a mask-specific request for reasonable accommodation form letter to help you with your request. If you feel your child has been discriminated against on the basis of their disability, please contact the Office for Civil Rights to file a complaint.

[1] Dear Superintendent Spearman, United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Re: OCR Docket #11-21-8901, Aug. 30, 2021.

Sep 8, 2021

FY 2022 Priorities and Objectives Survey

By |2021-09-09T15:13:39-06:00September 8th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Disability Rights Montana is developing its priorities and objectives for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year that starts October 1, 2021. We depend on people with disabilities, family members of people with disabilities, and the public to tell us what disability issues are most important. This survey is one way for us to gather information. Please help us by clicking the link below and answering the questions in the survey. All questions are optional. Answer the questions that are important to you. You must click the Submit button at the end of this survey in order for us to receive your input.

We need your comments by Monday, September 20, 2021.

FY22 Priorities and Objectives Survey

If you want to give us comments by phone or request accommodations, please call 1-800-245-4743.

Aug 13, 2021

Rural Institute 2021 Community Investment Fund

By |2021-08-13T14:55:02-06:00August 13th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Rural Institute logo. Includes additional text, "Inclusive Communities".

The University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities has announced their 2021 Community Investment Fund!

Up to $3,000 is available for innovative projects or programs that will help people with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities alongside people without disabilities.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any Montana organization, agency, non-profit group or individual* with a creative idea developed by/with people with disabilities to promote community inclusion for Montanans with disabilities.

Application deadline: September 1, 2021

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by October 31, 2021. Successful applicants need to spend their Community Investment Funds by April 15, 2022.

For an application and/or more information:

*See application for details about eligibility requirements.

Jul 21, 2021

PAIMI Advisory Council Opening

By |2021-07-21T14:50:34-06:00July 21st, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Disability Rights Montana is seeking a volunteer attorney to serve on its Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council (PAIMI Council). The PAIMI Council advises DRM on its priority and objectives in carrying out its responsibilities.

The PAIMI Council is comprised of mental health providers, individuals with mental illness and family members of people with mental ill.  The council meets four times a year. Please contact Bernie for more information at (406) 449-2344 or email at bernie@disabilityrightsmt.org

Click here to learn more about DRM

Click here for the application to apply

Jul 20, 2021

The Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana is closing facilities because they can’t find workers!

By |2021-07-20T14:11:03-06:00July 20th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Person opening black leather jacket to reveal black shirt that says "Mental Health Matters"

The Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana is closing facilities because they can’t find workers! 

Calling all students who need a practicum in the behavioral health or developmental disability fields: Montana’s most vulnerable need your help, and there is a dire need for workers in your field right now. Below we have identified a number of our member organizations that can offer you an opportunity to work as soon as you are available. We highly encourage you to reach out to the contacts mentioned below to see what opportunities exist for you.

See opportunities here: https://montanabehavioralhealth.org/practicum-students-montana-needs-you/

Jul 16, 2021

Disability Rights Montana, Montana Empowerment Center and the Office of Public Instruction Collaborate for Families, Students and Educators

By |2021-07-16T09:44:22-06:00July 16th, 2021|Quarterly Story|0 Comments

Families who have navigated the education world know how complex, confusing, and difficult it can be at times. As the protection and advocacy agency, we believe in the rights of all students, including students with disabilities, to access equitable and appropriate education alongside their peers.

In the fall of 2020, DRM, the Office of Public Instruction, and Montana’s Parent Training and Information Center, Montana Empowerment Center, came together with one shared mission: ensuring that all students with disabilities have the supports they need to succeed. These three agencies joined forces with the goal of creating collaborative supports for educators, administrators, and families in Montana.

The Coalition started based on the idea that collaboration is essential in using our limited resources in the most efficient way. We recognize that each agency plays a critical yet different role in the world of education. Identifying common interests and best practices between the three agencies and throughout the state will help bridge gaps within the education world and ultimately benefit Montana’s students. The Coalition is about collaboration at the state level through sharing information and ideas, sharing goals around specific areas, and understanding one another’s roles and responsibilities.

Similar collaborations across the nation have fostered close working relationships between State Education Agencies, Protection and Advocacy Agencies, and Parent Training and Information Centers. These collaborations have achieved positive outcomes sharing the same goal: improving outcomes for all children. As our Coalition effort has blossomed, we’re excited to share our first collaborative resource guide defining the roles and functions of each agency in an effort to make it easier for families. We look forward to continuing this work together.

Click the image below to download the resource guide.

Image of page 1 of the Education coalition resource. Click image to download the resource.
Image of page 2 of the Education coalition resource. Click image to download the resource.

Jun 18, 2021

MT Shares Annual Raffle

By |2021-06-18T09:52:47-06:00June 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The 27th annual Montana Shares raffle is now underway and the drawing will be held on September 17, 2021. Support Disability Rights Montana and other Montana non-profits and become eligible for great prizes. You need not be present to win. Winners will be notified by mail and will be posted within two weeks after the drawing on the Montana Shares website.

There are 33 fabulous prizes, including 14 prize packages this year! Raffle tickets are $10 per ticket, 3 tickets for $25, 6 tickets for $40, or 18 tickets for $100.

Money collected from the raffle helps Montana Shares’ program budget, which in turn, helps them support members with the ongoing work to invest in Montana’s human, animal, cultural and natural resources. Click on the images below for a list of prizes and printable raffle tickets. Tickets must be received by Montana Shares by September 16, 2021. To enter the raffle, print and complete the number of tickets you’d like to purchase and mail them along with payment to:

Montana Shares
PO Box 833
Helena, MT 59624

Image link to PDF list of raffle prizes
Link to printable link to sheet of 18 tickets
Jun 15, 2021

“Will you be my Advocate?”

By |2021-07-16T09:26:54-06:00June 15th, 2021|Quarterly Story|0 Comments

White female with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is wearing a white scarf, black shirt, and a yellow lace cardigan.

Stephanie is an energetic young woman who wants to live a full life like everyone else in their mid-twenties. She met her DRM advocate in the fall of 2019 when she was living in a group home with seven other people, many of whom were considerably older than her and had support needs very different from Stephanie’s. Stephanie asked, “Will you be my advocate?” and explained that she wants to move to her own apartment, have a job in the community, and make friends her age. She explained that she needed an advocate because she felt her team was not listening to her and did not support her wishes.

Disability Rights Montana (DRM) receives the Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) grant that allows staff to advocate for the rights of Montanans with developmental disabilities. Some of those rights are getting to choose where a person wants to live as well as receiving services in the least restrictive environment, that is a setting allowing a person to live as fully integrated in a community as possible.

Based on Stephanie’s request, the DRM advocate started to attend Stephanie’s monthly team meetings in the fall of 2019 to advocate for Stephanie’s wishes and to ensure Stephanie’s voice was heard. Team members included a targeted case manager, community provider staff who had known and worked with Stephanie for the past 6 years, and a representative of DPHHS’ Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP). The DRM advocate’s role in this setting was to repeatedly urge the team members to evaluate every possible option for Stephanie to move to a less restrictive environment as well as to discuss how to address a potentially needed increase in Medicaid funding with DDP’s Regional Management.

Montana does not have enough community placements for people like Stephanie and DRM understands that it can feel like fighting windmills to find a more appropriate, less restrictive place to live for someone like Stephanie who already lived in the community. It is DRM’s role in those moments to remind everyone on the team that this is Stephanie’s life, that she is her own guardian, and that her wishes and decisions are the driver of the team process and its decision-making. She deserves to be heard and it is on her team to do everything possible to locate and secure the least restrictive environment in which Stephanie can thrive and reach her full potential.

After 1.5 years of attending monthly team meetings, assisting the team in evaluating potential provider options, encouraging all team members to continue the effort for Stephanie while not losing sight of the good work Stephanie’s current provider was doing, the team learned in December 2020 that a community service provider in Billings was hoping to have Stephanie join their services as soon as the referral process was finalized.

Stephanie moved from Missoula to Billings on March 1, 2021 on a beautiful, sunshine-filled Montana day. She is now living in a house with two housemates about her age and with similar support needs. Her new staff at Casey’s Dream assist her in getting to know Billings, finding new favorite places, and becoming more independent in her new apartment.

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