Community Support and Funding: The Role of State and Local Government

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State-sponsored services and supports help individuals with Cerebral Palsy fulfill the right to a fully respectable, accessible, and supportive environment at home, school, and in the community. There are many programs that offer opportunities for individuals with Cerebral Palsy. Although the Federal Government may regulate and fund many of these benefits, state and local agencies often determine eligibility factors, qualifications, and administer services and programs.

Coordinated services and supports through state agencies may include:

These are detailed below.

Health Care Benefits

Free or low-cost health benefits may be available through state agencies such as:

  • State Department of Community Health
  • State Children’s Special Health Services (CSHCN, CYSCHN, and Title V)
  • State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • State Department of Disability and Human Health
  • State Medicaid offices and Home and Community Based Waiver Programs

Eligible children with Cerebral Palsy may qualify for assistance with medical supplies, equipment, health care, home modifications, advocacy, employment, and respite services.

Three helpful resources include:

Public Assistance

The popular state programs for individuals with disabilities are sponsored by the State Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Developmental Disabilities.

They offer helpful programs, such as Public and Nutritional Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs and Head Start. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs offer support systems in the form of funding, nutritional assistance, support for children with special health care needs, respite services, home modifications, and other family assistance programs.

The following sites provide human service agency lists:

  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – American Public Human Services Association

Housing Assistance

Safe, accessible and affordable housing opportunities enhance the quality of life for individuals with Cerebral Palsy. Housing assistance resources in each state support and protect home ownership. The Department of Housing and Community Development, Local Public Housing Agencies (PHA), Statewide Independent Living Councils, and Centers for Independent Living (CIL) help individuals with disabilities locate supportive housing. The various types of assistance provided by state agencies may include public housing assistance, pre-purchase counseling, housing choice vouchers, federal rental assistance, foreclosure avoidance strategies, fair housing consulting, tax credits, supportive housing, emergency repairs, and other home support options and services. PHAs and CIL directors provide information, options, and local resources.

For more information:

Employment

Individuals with Cerebral Palsy who are interested in training for a job or searching for employment may receive assistance from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and local and regional Departments of Labor (DOL) programs. Assistance is available for support, training, assessments, and connections to employment opportunities. Many agencies are also associated with Centers for Independent Living (CIL) to further promote and provide self-determination and independence. Local school district special education directors can provide local contact information for these agencies.

For more information:

Safety and Advocacy

The Departments of Justice (DOJ), Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&A), Client Assistance Programs (CAP), Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Regional Offices, and State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD), provide safety and support systems, protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The DOJ operate law enforcement services and represent in some legal matters. The Office of Civil Rights regional offices help individuals determine, protect, and advocate health care and social services benefits. The P&A agencies ensure human rights, investigate concerns, and resolve human rights infringements of those with special needs. Federally mandated CAPs are often located with the P&A agencies. They inform and assist individuals with available benefits and support systems. Federally funded SCDD promote advocacy, assess needs, and ensure inclusive solutions. Contacts and directors for each state agency assist with information, advocacy, and a variety of supports.

For more information:

Technology-Related Assistance

Technology, in the form of devices and services, is a source of strength and support for many individuals with Cerebral Palsy. Under the Assistive Technology Act, each state receives funding to provide access to communication devices, software, computer equipment, and other assistive technology products and services. State Assistive Technology Act programs (also known as state Tech Act programs) cover devices and offer services such as assessments, consultations, and technology-related funding assistance. The Association of Assistive Technology Programs (ATAP) provides state-related information and assistive technology projects.

For more information:

Research

State research opportunities and supports mostly found at University Centers for Excellence investigate ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities. They hope to prevent Cerebral Palsy by researching risk factors. Every U.S. state and territory has at least one University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). The centers are sponsored by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). UCEDDs collaborate and work with people that have Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities providing a variety of services, studies, and guidance to homes, schools, and communities. Many UCEDD projects promote health and well-being, research, and independent opportunities.

There are other research projects often conducted by the universities which host the UCEDDs. The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs are funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). In addition, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD) funds the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs). The IDDRCs contribute to professional interdisciplinary training and research into the prevention and treatment of Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities. UCEDDs, LEND programs, and IDDRCs are all affiliated with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) membership organization. This network provides valuable state contacts and information.

For more information:

Education

At the state level, Departments of Education offices offer wide-ranging educational assistance to children with Cerebral Palsy, such as early intervention programs; infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities benefits; special education services; adult transition services; workforce development; and vocational education training. Some offer state educational reinforcements, such as interdisciplinary care teams, adaptive environments, special accommodations, inclusive opportunities, transportation assistance, and other related services. State special education directors, IEP team members, Parent Training and Information Centers, and Parent Teacher Associations, provide information, support systems, and local educational resources, as well.

For more information:

Community Support and Funding

therapist and son enjoying a therapy session

Community Support and Funding

Organizations within the community exist to support and assist individuals with disabilities. Often, it is just a matter of being aware of what resources are in your community and how to contact them. Learn more, visit
Community Support and Funding