ACHIEVA Influence in the Halls of Congress

Thursday, April 26, 2018
For the past three days (April 22 - 25), I along with other representatives of ACHIEVA have been in Washington DC attending The Arc's Disability Policy Seminar (DPS). The purpose of the DPS is for advocates for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families to come together, learn about the federal issues facing them and then go to Capitol Hill to meet Members of Congress and educate them on what is important.
 
The roots of ACHIEVA are in The Arc.  ACHIEVA began and grew as The Arc of Allegheny County and 17 years ago our organization changed its name to ACHIEVA. While the name changed, our commitment to The Arc and the movement never wavered.  Advocacy and family supports are in ACHIEVA's organizational DNA.  The importance of being connected to The Arc in both Washington and Harrisburg cannot be overstated.  It allows us to present a united front to policy makers on the broad themes important to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, their families and the dedicated staff who work so hard to provide high-quality supports.  What are those broad themes?
  • Preserve Medicaid home and community-based service waiver funding
  • Support families
  • Increase inclusive special education and early intervention programming
  • Promote employment
  • Prevent abuse and neglect
  • Value our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs)
During our meetings in the offices of U.S. Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, and U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle, Conor Lamb, and Keith Rothfus, I was proud to be a representative of ACHIEVA, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh and The Arc of Pennsylvania. Our family volunteers were great during the meetings, telling their stories and emphasizing the importance of federal funds, laws and leadership.  Advocacy with government officials is an important part of our mission.  ACHIEVA's influence and the collective power of The Arc were clearly on display in DC this past week.
 
As always, please feel to email me with constructive comments and questions at suroviec@achieva.info.

(Photo) Steve Suroviec, ACHIEVA President & CEO; Julie Trbovich, Director of Advocacy and Family Supports for ACHIEVA; Rob McDowell, ACHIEVA Trustee and Immediate Past Chair; Nancy Murray, President, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh; and Mike Dever, ACHIEVA Board of Trustee Chair attended The Arc of the United States Disability Policy Seminar in Washington DC, April 23-25.