The RFWiA / RSA Board of Directors has reviewed and voted to endorse the Employment First bill being sponsored by Representative Edming.  The goal of the bill is to prioritize competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities as the desired outcome while also "ensuring the self-determination and informed choice of the individual."  Rep. Edming's office has listened graciously to representatives of RFW and modified language to strengthen and protect a full array of service options.  RFW joins a number of other prominent organizations in endorsing the bill including Goodwill SEW, Easterseals, Bethesda, Headwaters, Black River Industries, Special Olympics of Wisconsin, The Survival Coalition, and the Wisconsin Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition.  To read the bill click here.  To read the letters of support click here.

A few key provisions of the bill:

No Rule Can Limit Choice
(6)  The department of workforce development, the department of health
services, and the department of public instruction may each promulgate rules to implement this section.  A department may not promulgate rules in implementing this section that limits access to or choice of allowable services, including prevocational services provided in accordance with 42 CFR parts 440 and 441, in the family care program under ss. 46.2805 to 46.2895, the Family Care Partnership program, and the self-directed services option, as defined in s. 46.2899 (1).

This Law Doesn't Limit Choice
(7)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit access to or choice of
allowable services, including prevocational services provided in accordance with 42 CFR parts 440 and 441, in the family care program under ss. 46.2805 to 46.2895, the Family Care Partnership program, and the self-directed services option, as defined in s. 46.2899 (1).

A Study Looking at Outcomes
(1)  By the date the department of health services makes its initial report under section 47.05 (4) (b) of the statutes, the department of health services shall submit a report to the governor and the chief clerk of each house of the legislature for distribution to the appropriate standing committees under section 13.172 (3) of the statutes on the feasibility, including a cost estimate, of conducting an independent study regarding the impact that the Employment First initiative under section 47.05 of the statutes and the corresponding prioritization of competitive integrated employment has had on the expansion or reduction in access to allowable services, the quality of life, levels of community integration, and overall satisfaction of persons
with disabilities in this state.

To view RFWiA’s letter of support click here.