From the desk of the executive director.
I just wanted to take a few moments and give all of you a legislative update.
First, a little about myself my name is Kirsten Dvorak, a native of Bismarck. I graduated from Fargo North. My Husband was in the Air Force for 14 years, we traveled the world, but after being away from family, it was time to come home. The biggest reason is that we are blessed with son that is on the Autism Spectrum. He is on winter break from Minneapolis Collage of Art and Design. I would be lying that it has been and easy road but he is trying his best.
I have been a disability advocate as long as I can remember. I have worked in the mental health field advocating for patients to make sure that they are getting the care that they need in a timely matter. I have worked with families to help better understand the IEP process, I have worked with the school district to better understand and work with families that are anxious about their student attending school. I have worked with legislators to better understand the needs in the disability community.
I have been the Executive Director of The Arc of North Dakota and The Arc of Bismarck for the last 2 years. We have worked hard to push legislation to look at the caseload at the Life Skills and Transition Center in Grafton. We have advocated for more funding for home and community based services. Advocated to make sure that all individuals are matched up to the right work opportunity for successful employment. Worked with Department of Instruction and the Special Education Department to have better graduation rates for those that are at risk of dropping out, and to promote the Peer-to-Peer model that Bismarck Schools are using in their high schools.
As you can see we have been busy, however our work is far from done.
Legislative Priorities for the Arc of North Dakota:
- Downsizing the population of the Life Skills and Transition Center, especially the youth population
- New Developmental Disabilities Payment System
- Seclusion & Restraint
- Employer tax incentive – for VR clients who have had closure for inability to benefit from VR.
- Keeping Medicaid expansion
- Supported decision making
- Opposing a work requirement for Medicaid.
- Support to increase easier access to mental health services throughout North Dakota.
- Increase wages for all staff working in community DD programs.
So please make sure that you have your notifications up, as we will posting throughout the session to keep you all up to date. Who know you might just see me on video!