Need help with setting up an SDM agreement in Massachusetts?

Center for Public Representation has recently partnered with the Suffolk Law School Health Law Clinic to provide representation to people in Massachusetts interested in using Supported Decision-Making.

The clinic will be representing a limited number of people in Massachusetts who are interested in using SDM and need assistance creating an SDM Agreement. Student lawyers in the clinic will be representing people who have guardians and people who do not.

If you live in Massachusetts and are interested in getting help with Supported Decision-Making from the Suffolk Health Law Clinic, please contact us by email or phone!

Supported Decision-Making Bill refiled in Massachusetts!

This week, Senator Joan Lovely and Representative Paul Tucker filed Supported Decision-Making legislation in the new session of the Massachusetts legislature!

You can see a copy of the SDM bills here:

Massachusetts Advocates for Supported Decision-Making (MASDM), a diverse group of self-advocates, families, legal services providers, older adult advocates, and disability advocates supports the SDM bill.  CPR is a proud member and leader of this broad coalition.

Read more about what the SDM bill would do in our Fact Sheet.

Man in green shirt reading from paper into microphone at table in statehouse.
Johnathan Jenkins, SDM Pilot Participant, testifying in support of SDM bill at 2019 Statehouse hearing.

If you or your organization would like to support SDM Legislation in Massachusetts, we want to hear from you!

Supported Decision-Making legislation was also introduced in the last legislative session.  The Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities favorably reported the bill and the SDM bill had promising momentum before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We applaud Senator Lovely and Representative Tucker for their continued commitment to Supported Decision-Making and look forward to working with the legislature on this important legislation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CPR and partners awarded federal grant to create Center on Youth Voice Youth Choice

Center for Public Representation is to honored to announce that we are part of a group of organizations that has been awarded a five-year grant from the Administration for Community Living. The grant is to implement a national Alternatives to Guardianship Youth Resource Center, which will be called the Center on Youth Voice, Youth Choice.

The partnership is led by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The Center on Youth Voice, Youth Choice (CYVYC) will work to increase the use of guardianship alternatives by youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities to maximize self-determination and autonomy.

The partnership is led by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and includes Center for Public Representation, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), consultants from the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and the Georgia Advocacy Office, and subject matter experts, including disability activists, educators, parents, and advocates.

The new center will conduct research, create a sustainable model for capacity building and resource dissemination, and form a Youth Ambassador program that will train youth in leadership development and mentoring. In addition to directly engaging youth with IDD in the work of the project, it will be guided by an advisory committee, 75% of whom will be youth with IDD.

Principal Investigator Allison Hall of ICI explained, “Our research finds there is limited information on alternatives to guardianship for youth with IDD. We are excited to bring the voice of young adults with IDD into this work and support youth as leaders and change agents.”

The Center will be informed by ICI’s existing research funded by the Institute on Education Science, U.S. Department of Education, on how alternatives to guardianship during the transition process contribute to post-school outcomes.

If you would like to get involved with the work of the Center on Youth Voice Youth Choice, we would love to hear from you!

ICI’s Director, Cindy Thomas also notes, “CPR, HSRI and the Georgia Advocacy Project have led efforts to design, implement and evaluate supported decision-making pilots.  This work, along with the extensive array of resources developed by CPR will provide a strong foundation for the Center. I am excited by the opportunity ICI has to lead this work in partnership with a tremendous team.”

Call your representative about the Mass. SDM Bill TODAY!

The SDM bill is on the move in the House today and we need your help right now! Please take just five minutes and call your Representative to ask them to support the Massachusetts SDM bill which Rep. Aaron Vega has introduced in the House as amendment 36 to H. 4888.

Make sure your representative hears from you about how important an SDM bill is in Massachusetts!

You can find out who your Representative is here and call them to tell them you support the bill.
If you need help finding your Representative call Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-658-3675

Group of people standing together on steps of Massachusetts State HouseHere is what you can say on the call:

  • Tell them your name and where you live.
  • I am calling to express my support for the Supported Decision-Making legislation: Amendment 26 to H. 4888
  • SDM is important to me because… (Here you can explain who you are and why decision-making for people with disabilities is important to you. Are you a person who uses SDM? Do you have a loved one who uses SDM or would like to? etc.)
  • I urge the House to pass this important piece of legislation.
  • If they have questions, you can refer them to Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-658-3675.

 

 

 

We need your help to pass the Mass. SDM bill — two phone calls can make a difference!

We need your help to pass the Massachusetts SDM bill before time runs out!

Man holding paper and testifying at state houe
Johnathan Jenkins testifying in support of SDM bill

We need YOU to make two phone calls to express your support for the SDM bill (H. 4349/S.2490)!

The Massachusetts legislature has been working hard on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the session ends we do not want to miss the opportunity to pass the important and cost-saving SDM bill.

House and Senate Committee Chairs needs to hear your voice! Contact key legislators below today to tell them you support the Supported Decision-Making bill.

  1. Contact Chairman of Senate Ways and Means Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues at (617) 722-1114 Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov
  2. Contact Chairman of House Bills in the Third Reading Rep. Theodore Speliotis at (617) 722-2410    Theodore.Speliotis@mahouse.gov

Here is what you can say on the call:

  • Tell them your name and where you live. (If you are a constituent of the legislator you are calling, be sure to tell them that)
  • I am calling to express my support for the Supported Decision-Making legislation: H. 4349/S.2490.
  • SDM is important to me because… (Here you can explain who you are and why decision-making for people with disabilities is important to you. Are you a person who uses SDM? Do you have a loved one who uses SDM or would like to? etc.)
  • This bill will save money by reducing court costs!
  • I urge the House and Senate to pass this important bill.
  • If they have questions, you can refer them to Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-965-0776

Read more about the Massachusetts SDM bill here and a link to the bill fact sheet.

Mass. SDM bill on the Move in the State Senate

The Massachusetts Supported Decision-Making bill continues to be on the move in the Senate! The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities has favorably reported the Senate version of the bill to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. We applaud the Joint Committee Chairwoman Kay Khan for moving this bill forward. We urge the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to move this important bill forward.

Amanda Benoit testifying in the statehouse on the SDM bill.
Amanda Benoit, SDM user, testifying in the statehouse on the SDM bill.

Make sure the legislature hears from you about how important an SDM bill is in Massachusetts!

You can find out who your legislators are here and call them to tell them you support the bill.
If you need help finding your legislators call Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-965-0776

House and Senate leadership needs to hear your voice! Contact key legislators below today to tell them you support the Supported Decision-Making bill.

Contact Chairman of Ways and Means Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues at (617) 722-1114 Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov

Contact Senate President Karen Spilka at (617) 722-1500 Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov

Contact Speaker Robert DeLeo at (617) 722-2500 Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov

Contact Majority Leader Ronald Mariano at (617) 722-2300 Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov

Contact Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia A. Haddad at (617) 722-2600 Patricia.Haddad@mahouse.gov

Contact Rep. Theodore Speliotis at (617) 722-2410    Theodore.Speliotis@mahouse.gov

Here is what you can say on the call:

  • Tell them your name and where you live. (If you are a constituent of the legislator you are calling, be sure to tell them that)
  • I am calling to express my support for the Supported Decision-Making legislation: H. 4349/S.2490.
  • SDM is important to me because… (Here you can explain who you are and why decision-making for people with disabilities is important to you. Are you a person who uses SDM? Do you have a loved one who uses SDM or would like to? etc.)
  • I urge the House and Senate to pass this important bill.
  • If they have questions, you can refer them to Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-965-0776

If you’d rather write a letter you can send a letter by email to SDM@cpr-ma.org about why you support SDM legislation in Massachusetts and we will share it with the legislators!

Mass. SDM Bill Continues to Make Progress in State House

We are very excited to report that the Massachusetts Supported Decision-Making legislation continues to make progress in the State House! The bill has now moved to the House Committee on Bills in Third Reading. This is important progress for a bill that would improve the lives of people with disabilities and older adults in the Commonwealth.

The SDM bill’s progress was also covered by the State House News Bureau: “Disabled individuals looking for help making life decisions could find help under legislation (H 4349) that would allow them to choose one or more “trusted supporters” to provide assistance. Reps. Paul Tucker (D-Salem) and Aaron Vega’s (D-Holyoke) co-sponsored the bill that Center for Public Representation Senior Attorney Anna Krieger says increases independence for individuals with disabilities.”

Read more about the legislation here.

For an overview of the SDM bill (H.4349/S.2490), check out the Massachusetts SDM bill fact sheet.

Man reading from paper into microphone at table
Johnathan Jenkins, SDM user, testifying before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

Make sure the legislature hears from you about how important an SDM bill is in Massachusetts!

You can find out who your legislators are here and call them to tell them you support the bill.
If you need help finding your legislators call Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-965-0776

House leadership needs to hear your voice! Contact key legislators below today to tell them you support the Supported Decision-Making bill.

Contact Speaker Robert DeLeo at (617) 722-2500

Contact Majority Leader Ronald Mariano at (617) 722-2300

Contact Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia A. Haddad at (617) 722-2600 

Contact Rep. Theodore Speliotis at (617) 722-2410

Here is what you can say on the call:

  • Tell them your name and where you live. (If you are a constituent of the legislator you are calling, be sure to tell them that)
  • I am calling to express my support for the Supported Decision-Making legislation: H. 4349/S.64.
  • SDM is important to me because… (Here you can explain who you are and why decision-making for people with disabilities is important to you. Are you a person who uses SDM? Do you have a loved one who uses SDM or would like to? etc.)
  • I urge the House to pass this important bill.
  • If they have questions, you can refer them to Anna Krieger at the Center for Public Representation: 617-965-0776

If you’d rather write a letter you can send a letter by email to SDM@cpr-ma.org about why you support SDM legislation in Massachusetts and we will share it with the legislators!

Mass. SDM Bill Passes First Legislative Hurdle

We are excited to report that the Massachusetts SDM legislation has passed favorably out of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

CPR is grateful for the leadership of our bill sponsors Senator Joan LovelyRepresentative Aaron Vega, and Representative Paul Tucker; Chairwoman Khan; Chairwoman Chang-Diaz; and members of the committee who passed the bill unanimously. We will continue to advocate for the bill when it moves to the next phase of the legislative process and look forward to working with our coalition on this effort.

Thank you to the members of the Massachusetts Advocates for Supported Decision-Making Coalition for their support and advocacy. 

Group posing inside state house

Massachusetts Advocates for Supported Decision-Making Coalition members are:

 

 

 

International Fight for Supported Decision-Making

In December 2019, staff from CPR were invited to participate in and present at a two day policy and practice colloquium with partners from Colombia, Peru, and the United States which was hosted by the Human Rights Initiative of the Open Society Foundations in New York City.  In the last two years both Colombia (2019) and Peru (2018) have passed laws that abolish guardianship and guarantee the legal capacity of all people with disabilities.  These laws encourage the use of Supported Decision-Making and other supports as an alternative to guardianship. Conversation centered around the Colombian and Peruvian laws, challenges with implementation, and lessons learned internationally around Supported Decision-Making.

The new Columbian law is now being challenged in the Colombian Constitutional Court. In January 2020, CPR, together with other leading U.S. Supported Decision-Making allies, filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the law.  The brief argues that Supported Decision-Making can be an effective way of providing support to people with disabilities and discusses successful strategies used in the United States.

You can read the full brief here.

CPR Hosts SDM Symposium in Massachusetts

Five adults, one holding a baby, sit on a panel.
Sandra Heller, Cory Carlotto, Maggy Walto, Van Nguyen, Sophia Johansson

The Center for Public Representation was proud to host a symposium on October 21, 2019 to discuss Supported Decision-Making (SDM) in Massachusetts.  The symposium brought together more than 65 stakeholders from a range of backgrounds to strategize about how expand the practice of SDM in the state.

Attendees included self-advocates, SDM users from CPR’s pilots, family members, supporters, lawyers from state agencies, legal services attorneys, medical professionals, elder services providers and advocates, agencies serving people with I/DD, and more.

Conversations touched on how SDM can work most effectively in a health care setting, making the model work within the Vietnamese community and across other cultures, and ensuring SDM is practiced with integrity.

There was also discussion and interest in the Supported Decision-Making legislation CPR has been working hard to get passed in Massachusetts (S. 64, H. 172).

Attendees reported it was particularly informative to hear directly from SDM users Cory, Johnathan, and Amanda about how SDM has transformed their lives.  CPR looks forward to maintaining connections to the attendees who were identified because they are uniquely positioned to advance the use of SDM in the state.

This symposium was funded through generous support of the WITH Foundation, Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation, and The Becker Family Trust Grants for Innovation.

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