The mission of VCDR is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities to ensure full and equal participation in all aspects of community life and the political process.


VCDR Alerts

2015 Action Alerts

Latest News on "One-Time" funds

This just in from Secretary of AHS, Hal Cohen:

Disabilities Services “One-Time“ funds for State Fiscal Year 2015: The Secretary and the administration has found some room in the DAIL Budget and will allocate $600,000 in one-time funds (same as FY 2014).

VCDR is grateful to all of our members and partners for their advocacy that made his happen. We haven’t solved the problem for the future, but have forestalled a present disaster. Thank you to Hal and his team for listening to our concerns for the people we work with!

Thanks, Ed

Ed Paquin, President VCDR

From: Whitney, Katie On Behalf Of Cohen, Hal
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2015
Subject: One-Time Allocation
Importance: High

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you have reached out to discuss your concerns this fiscal year related to the DS one-time dollars. As you are all aware, this has been a particularly challenging budget cycle and we had to make up about a $30 million shortfall in the Global Commitment/Medicaid program. The $7.5 million in unspent DAIL funds, that some of you identified for one-time dollars, was actually used in our closeout process to address the afore mentioned deficit. Additionally, in anticipation of continuing challenges, the Agency must be careful to ensure that all our funding is meeting the needs of individuals and solidly connected to measurable outcomes. However, the proposed changes in the one-time dollars were particularly concerning to me and I have been working in consultation with Monica Hutt, Camille George and my budget staff to find one time funds, better understand the uses of those dollars and the implications of their potential loss.

I am pleased to be able to tell you, that through our budget close out process last Friday, we identified some room within the DAIL budget and we will be able to fund the one-time dollars in the amount of $600,000 (same as FY14). I have asked Camille to convene a working group to include representatives from the DS providers in order to develop a process to distribute the funds through an agreement that clearly delineates outcomes. She will begin this immediately and I am confident that we will be able to get the one time dollars out the door by the end of July.

I appreciate the feedback and information that you have all shared with me and look forward to a strong continued partnership.

Thanks, Hal

Hal Cohen
Secretary, Agency of Human Services

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Elimination of One-Time Funding

The Vermont Department of Disability, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) recently announced that it will not allocate any one-time funding for individuals and families from the $7.5 million it has identified end-of-the-year monies.

The decision represents a marked change in DAIL policy. DAIL has distributed one-time funds every year since at least 2003, according to a review of Developmental Services records.

Considered critical to addressing short-term and temporary gaps in service, one-time funds are described in the Developmental Services System of Care Plan as an additional resource for people who are financially and clinically eligible for developmental services. In FY ’14, DAIL provided $600,000 in one-time funds. In Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013, the annual figure was approximately $750,000.

Each year, an annual pool of money accumulates because of the accounting approach that states use to track spending for home and community-based services (HCBS). HCBS service packages are awarded to individuals as a 12 month commitment, even when a person will not require 12 months of funding – of example, in the case of newly enrolled individuals.

The Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council would like to hear from individuals and families directly impacted by this unexpected announcement. If you had been anticipating one-time funding in the coming months, or if you have received one-time funding in the past, please contact:

Kirsten Murphy, Senior Policy Analyst, Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council,

Self-advocates and families are also urged to contact their local Representatives and Senate members to express objections to DAIL’s decision to eliminate one-time funding this year – even though there is sufficient end-of-the-year funding to support these critical, temporary needs.

House Link:
Senate Link:
Find a Legislator:
Joint Fiscal Committee: (Next Meeting July 27th)

TALKING POINTS - Elimination of One Time Funding for Fiscal Year 2015

DAIL has an obligation to allocate available resources in a manner consistent with the Developmental Services System of Care Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2016.

Since at least Fiscal Year 2002, the State’s System of Care Plan has presented one-time funds as a part of the resources available to Vermonters who are financially and clinically eligible for developmental disabilities services.

One-time funds are not a “bonus.” They are a critical part of the safety net described in the System of Care Plan. This Plan recognizes that there are gaps in coverage that if unaddressed, will lead to much more costly, comprehensive community-based services or to an increased need for acute medical care.

One-time funds provide prevention-oriented services such as emergency respite, crisis intervention, dental care, home modifications for safety, and durable medical equipment. They are the only funds available when an individual with I/DD who has not been found eligible for a package of HCBS has an unanticipated and critical need.

This decision was made by DAIL without input from the State Program Standing Committee on Developmental Services. Revisions adopted in 2014 to the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Act require that, at a minimum, the Commissioner must consult this Advisory Board about any proposed changes to the System of Care Plan [18 V.S.A. 204:A, §8733]. Significant changes must go through the legislative rule-making process.

Developmental Service Directors have offered to provide AHS with revised reporting to strengthen accountability for one-time funds, or to allow AHS to administer these funds directly on behalf of the individuals and families seeking short term relief. AHS has not accepted either compromise. The Department of Developmental Services has no specific plan at this time for how it intends to use the $7.5 million in end-of-the year funds.

Please see Supporting Documents Attached:
Developmental Services State Standing Committee - Letter to Secretary Cohen
Vermont Care Partners (VCP) - Letter to Commissioner Wehry
Commissioner Wehry - Response to VCP

Seclusion and Restraint

In 2011, the state of Vermont took a pivotal step to ensuring the safety of all children, in "learning environments that receive public funding, or over which the Vermont Department of Education has regulatory authority," by enacting Rule 4500 (Vermont Agency of Education, 2011). Rule 4500 established guidelines for when and how seclusion and restraint can be used in VT schools, promotes positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) as an alternative to standard responses to disruptive behaviors, sets a training requirement for educators on the use of seclusion and restraint, and establishes reporting requirements on the use of seclusion and restraint. While Vermont proved progressive in becoming one of fifteen states in the union to regulate the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, there is still work to be done to ensure that the rule is having the intended effect on practices and outcomes for Vermont’s children (Butler, 2014).

From the Desk of Daline Derival, VT Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) Program :

As part of my fellowship with the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program this year, I had the opportunity to develop a policy brief on seclusion and restraint which I am sharing with you here. Although Rule 4500 in Vermont was enacted in 2011, there has been no systematic monitoring and reporting on the impact of the Rule on the use of seclusion and restraint on school children. Also concerning is the 2015 Vermont Legal Aide report which reveals that children with disabilities and children from diverse backgrounds are disproportionately subjected to disciplinary action (including seclusion and restraint).

It is critical for the safety of children in Vermont that data on seclusion and restraint be systematically collected and reported to the Agency of Education. In addition to mandating regular, standardized data collection on seclusion and restraint, I propose that a task force be created to review disciplinary action in schools, including restraint, seclusion, as well as the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports. It is also imperative that teachers and school administrators become increasingly cultural and linguistic competent.

There is currently a bill before the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education (H.R. 927-Keeping All Students Safe Act) which would provide the needed protection from seclusion and restraint to students in schools throughout the United States while also provide funding for assessment of the Act’s effectiveness in all states.

I encourage you to please share this policy brief with anyone you know who may be interested in this topic and to also contact your state Senators to encourage the introduction of a companion bill to H.R. 927 in the Senate.


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