When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything was turned upside-down. One thing that DES allowed under temporary rules, which are currently set to expire in September 2021, allows the parents of minor children enrolled in DDD to be paid to provide care to their children. This program has ensured continuity of care for the DDD Members, while also providing training and other supports to parents.
While paying parent caregivers of minor children is a new program, the idea that providing the extra care a disabled person may require can make it difficult, if not impossible, to have a regular job is not new to Arizona. Parents of adult children and spouses of people with disabilities have been able to serve as full-time paid care givers for years now.
We are advocating to add a rule to the Arizona Administrative Code similar to the rule that allows people to provide paid care to their disabled spouses. A.A.C. R9-28-506. We only want the parents of minor children to have the same rights and privileges as the parents of disabled adult children and spouses, specifically:
The paid parent provider program already exists, we are just advocating to make it permanent. This program provides real accountability, while ensuring that parents don't have to make a choice between caring for their disabled child and working, or letting their child go without care during critical, irreplaceable, and time-sensitive development windows because a provider isn't available. Providers may be scarce if there aren't many in the area, especially in our rural communities, or there may not be a provider who is qualified and licensed to take on the care required.
How can you help? First, sign the petition to show your support for the initiative! If you are interested in learning more or to get directly involved with the momvocates leading charge, join their Facebook group "Parents for Parent Providers in Arizona." Then contact the agencies below to let them know about the need for this change.
150 N. 18th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Find your elected representatives.
DES DDD Customer Service Center
Toll Free (844) 770-9500
Advocacy messages are always best when they come from the heart and include your own personal touches. In any advocacy message, it's also important to:
Here's an example letter you can use as a framework for a letter or email, or use as a script on a phone call. Of course, if you can include any details about your personal experience (whether you use the program or not), that would amplify the impact of the message. And if you are so inclined, feel free to write your own message. Change will come if we work together to send a loud and clear message: ensure consistent care for minor children in ALTCS by adopting the emergency procedure to allow parents to be the paid caregivers for their minor children as a permanent rule.
I love someone with a disability. As part of the COVID-19 response, Arizona Long Term Care (ALTCS) began allowing parents of minor children to be paid for providing the extra care that disabled children need that would have been provided by an outside caregiver. While the parents of minor children have not had this opportunity before, the parents of adults with disabilities and the spouses of people with disabilities have had this opportunity for years.
I think this change is important because it ensures that children can have consistent care in their own home. Due to shortages in the workforce, it has been very difficult to find consistent help. In addition, due to multiple therapy and doctor appointments, which require my attendance, caring for my child takes significantly more time than raising a typically-developing child. <Insert your story here: someone had to quit working, reduce hours, find a new job, or could work only with the help of family>.
Accountability is built into the system. Parents must contract with a licensed provider and report hours to the provider. As part of becoming an employee of a licensed provider, parents receive training on caregiving that many of the parents have found useful, and use on a 24/7 basis with their disabled children. In other words, it provides us as parents with tools that we incorporate all the time, not just during a workday.
The parent provider program was successful during COVID. So successful, that numerous disability organizations and even businesses that provide this type of care have joined us in our effort to make it permanent. Can I count on you to join us in our drive to maintain the ability of parents to provide quality, consistent care for their disabled minor children by making the parent provider program permanent?
<Relationship to DDD Member>
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