News Release, Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore, MD—The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) welcomed advocates and professionals from across the state today to discuss progress made in Maryland to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 2019 AnnualMeeting of the Maryland Community of Practice for Supporting Families (CoP) is being held today and tomorrow in Catonsville at the Hussman Institute for Autism.

At the meeting, MDH’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) hosted consultants from the National Community of Practice for Supporting Families from the University of Missouri Kansas City and The Lewin Group evaluation team from Falls Church, Virginia.

“We are proud to welcome The Lewin Group and National Community of Practice to Maryland,” saidBernie Simons, DDA’s Deputy Secretary.“They are here to acknowledge and learn from us, as we have taken the lead with the Maryland Community of Practice to create policy, regulations, programs and practices to better support Maryland families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

In addition to the DDA, theMaryland CoP Statewide Leadership Team includes family members, self-advocates, The Arc Maryland, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, People on the Go, Maryland Developmental Disability Council, Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, Maryland Department of Disabilities, Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Department of Natural Resources,MDH’s Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs, Towson University, and local CoP facilitators.

Participants at the two-day meeting come from Baltimore, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Montgomery,Prince George’s and Washington counties and the Eastern shore.

The CoP Supporting Families annual meetingcelebrates accomplishments, including the development of DDA’s two new waivers — Family Supports and Community Supports. During the meeting, participants identify and address challenges and engage in strategic planning to further support residents caring for family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Consultants from The Lewin Group, a national evaluation team, attended the meeting to observe and discuss Maryland’s success over the past three years.

“Due to the unique activities occurring in Maryland, the evaluation team determined that a site visit would help inform the national evaluation,” saidNatalie Boonchaisri, a research consultantwithThe Lewin Group.

Maryland became a CoP state in 2016and since then has made significant changes to regulations, policies and practices to better support families.DDA recognizes the critical role families play in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, helping them lead meaningful, self-directed lives that are integrated into their communities.

MDH’s DDA servesmore than 24,000people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout the state. Services provided focus on five areas: self-determination, self-advocacy, supporting families, housing and employment.

Services include personal supports, respite care, residential services, vehicle and home modifications, employment supports and services, and behavioral supports and services. Services may be provided in a variety of settings, such as the family’s private residence or a licensed residence by a DDA provider.

To learn more about Maryland’s Community of Practice Supporting Families, contact Mary Ann Kane Breschi, Director of Family Supports, at 410-767-8880.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...