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NCD Quarterly Newsletter - Fall 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Next Quarterly Meeting

Dates: Monday and Tuesday, November 2-3, 2015
Location: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main Street, Concord, NH 03301
Matters Considered: The Council will hear policy presentations on the topics of mental health services in higher education, the Help America Vote Act, Medicaid managed care and the direct care workforce, and emerging technology in employment and education. The Council will also release its “Self-Driving Cars: Mapping Access to a Technology Revolution” report; review and vote on a report on monitoring and enforcing the Affordable Care Act; receive reports from its standing committees; and receive public comment during three town halls, on the topics of mental health services in higher education, challenges of the direct care workforce, and emerging technology.

A more detailed agenda, information about the town halls, and information about accommodations can be found in the Federal Register notice (

Information about the meeting’s public comment opportunities follows below.

Latest Reports Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities

Amid growing recognition that a web of policies and practices push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially students of color, out of school and into the criminal justice system, NCD convened a stakeholder forum in Atlanta in October 2014 to receive testimony on the role of special education in the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Studies show that up to 85 percent of youth in juvenile detention facilities have disabilities that make them eligible for special education services, yet these students often go unidentified until they find themselves in the juvenile justice system. In this report, NCD concludes that IDEA can and should be an important part of the solution to the disproportionate number of students with disabilities who enter the school-to-prison pipeline. Students with disabilities need to receive effective special education services earlier to address their educational and behavioral needs. However, students of color face persistent disparities in the identification, discipline, placement and other key categories of IDEA implementation and this exacerbates the school-to-prison pipeline crisis. In this report, NCD issues recommendations that focus on ways to improve existing special education delivery and enforcement systems to better meet the needs of students with disabilities who risk entering the Pipeline.
Report at:

National Disability Policy: A Progress Report

The 2015 edition of this annual report, which fulfills NCD’s statutory mandate to report and make recommendations concerning the state of disability policy in the United States each year, holds special significance as the nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In developing this progress report, NCD engaged with five specific state and local agencies to explore how the ADA influenced the development of policy at the state level. The report focuses on employment, education, health care, transportation, and housing, and demonstrates the impact of federal legislation and the critical role  that disability advocates and state and local officials have played who translate the spirit and letter of the ADA and other federal legislation into practice. It also lays out NCD’s vision for the next 25 years of the ADA with specific policy recommendations.
Report at:…

Research / Funding Opportunities

NCD posted a funding notice on October 9 for NCD’s 2016 Progress Report.

The 2016 progress report will examine how technology has or can be leveraged to improve the lives of people with disabilities in various areas, such as integrated community living, housing, transportation, employment, education, health care, civil rights, cultural diversity, emergency management, financial assistance and incentives, internationally, youth perspectives and long-term services and supports. The report should support that access to technology which improves the lives of people with disabilities is a right, not a privilege. Thus, this research will examine the barriers preventing the development and/or implementation of current or emerging technology that could serve to improve outcomes for people with disabilities, and determine what policy changes are needed so that people with disabilities fully benefit from the technology revolution. The research and recommendations will address how people with disabilities are faring in (6) six categories listed above, through the lens of technology. The estimated contract period is 9 months. This potential funding opportunity is contingent on fiscal year 2016 federal funding availability. Full Proposal Deadline: November 9, 2016

Current Policy Work

NCD’s Council Members and staff are currently or will soon be engaged in policy work on the following topics:

  • Affordable Care Act implementation and enforcement
  • Self-driving cars
  • Social Security disability reform
  • Medicaid managed care implementation
  • Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program
  • Mental health legislative proposals
  • Mental health services in higher education
  • Emerging technology in employment and education
  • Rights of parents with disabilities

NCD in the News

Media coverage greatly assists in increasing public awareness and provides opportunities to help frame policy discussions. NCD was featured a number of media stories in recent months. NCD was featured in a number of stories in recent months. Highlights include:

NCD on the Hill

NCD regularly engages Congress on the findings and recommendations of NCD reports, and on the topics congressional staffers are most embroiled in that have consequence for people with disabilities, in addition to regularly weighing in on existing legislative proposals. In recent time, Social Security disability reform and mental health reform legislation have been at the top of that list. NCD has a long history of policy research and recommendations on both topics and most recently released “Securing the Social Contract: Reforming Social Security Disability” ( at the beginning of this year.

Highlights of NCD’s recent activities on these topics include:

  • Meetings with the House Energy and Commerce Committee staff who are working on mental health reform legislation to express concerns of the disability community regarding proposed legislation and to offer constructive alternatives.
  • July 28 congressional briefing – “Re-imagining the Social Security System for the 21st Century” – on modernizing Social Security to meet the demands of youth who are coming of age and want to see SSI become a springboard of opportunity. Two panels of witnesses, including testimony by young people with disabilities, discussed the barriers experienced in navigating the system, and policy measures that are either underway or are needed to address persistent barriers to obtaining and advancing a career.
  • July 7 congressional briefing – “Social Security Disability 101” – to give a primer on how SSDI operates and its importance in the lives of people with disabilities. NCD staff moderated a panel including Rebecca Vallas from the Center for American Progress, Romina Boccia of the Heritage Foundation, and Ari Ne’eman, former NCD Council Member.

NCD in the Community

Twitter Chat: “Building a Better Mental Health System” Hashtag: #MHChatNCD

On September 10, NCD hosted another of our popular Twitter Chats – this time to solicit information, expertise and opinions from stakeholders on “Building A Better Mental Health System” in preparation for a briefing we held with congressional staff the following week. The online event was well-received and participation was high among numerous movers and shakers in the mental health community. A summation of NCD’s recent Twitter chat on “Building A Better Mental Health System” is available at Storify online, along with an archive of previous chats. (

Public Square

Upcoming Public Comment Opportunities

NCD will host three themed town halls at its upcoming Council meeting in Concord, NH, November 2-3, 2015. Information shared during the Town Hall sessions will inform NCD’s work in these areas as research projects on these topics are undertaken in the year ahead. The location for each session will be at the Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main Street, Concord, NH 03301. Those not able to attend in person can always send their comments via email to: or call-in with their comments, although priority will be given to those who attend in-person.

To better facilitate the town halls, any individual interested in providing public comment is asked to register his or her intent to provide comment in advance by sending an email to with the subject line “Public Comment” with your name, organization, state, and topic of comment included in the body of your email. All emails to register for public comment at the quarterly meeting must be received by Friday, October 30, 2015. Due to time constraints, NCD asks all commenters to limit their comments to three minutes.

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