Friday, December 18, 2009

12 News Story

I just got word that 12 News is looking to do a story on Early Intervention Services if the funding cuts go through the legislature. They are looking for families willing to interview with their children on camera. If anyone is interested please contact Melissa, her email is

Let me know if there are any problems with the email link.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here We Go Again...

Alas, nobody seems to have learned anything from the last ten times they were sued, and a new budget proposal is coming to cut DDD and related programs AGAIN!!!

It boggles my mind, really it does, how do you expect to resolve the budget problems by victimizing the citizens of this state? Is this really necessary? Honestly? Yes we are "broke" (as one Senator so eloquently put it), but this is not the first time the state has had major budget problems, and guess what? Eventually everything resolves itself.

I just don't get this obsession with dollars, money is a funny thing, no matter how much you loose, you will almost always have a future opportunity to make more, it is something that can be replaced.

I don't get why others don't see it this way, granted I am not trying to minimize some of the financial hardships individuals are undergoing at this time, living paycheck to paycheck is not something I'm trying to downplay, but in terms of the State of Arizona, as a whole, let's face it, there will always be people living here, doing business here, and paying taxes here, the federal government will always be giving us grants and other funding too. They will always have some sort of revenue flow in, the amount varies, but nethertheless it is still there and will always be.

What can't be replaced is time. We cannot take the critical time back for those children with disablities to maximize their level of functionig. It has a time limit children at a critical age or stage need therapies NOW, not sometime in the future when or if the legislators figure out how to balance a budget. That is someting that cannot be recouped, neither will the pain of parents knowing that if their children had been treated as human beings and been given the services so they could have the dignity of a functional life being taken away for years if not permanently, just so someone could try to balance a budget on a spreadsheet.

Get out your dialing fingers and your keyboards folks, it's time to call and write yet again, apparently it sounds like they will not take into account our previous efforts, so we have to start from scratch again, maybe we could just forward our old stuff with a new date since things have not changed.

If you don't know your district you can go online to :

There is a previous template from April of last year posted on this blog as well, just go the the right sidbar under 2009, and click on April, the heading of the post should appear, contact me if you have any questions.

Due Process Still Continuing...

The State has not budged, they will not comit to sending a letter, we had another phone hearing, and not only do they refuse to give us a letter stating what their intentions are, they filed to have everything dismissed THE DAY BEFORE OUR CONFERENCE!

Luckily the judge didn't have the paperwork, and did not sound too pleased that nobody mentioned this motion to him or us, so he gave me some time to type a response, which is what I am working on right now, and why I have not had too much time to write much lately.

I will update with any useful info as I get it, I will not write too much about what I'm working on right now because I don't want any confusion if what I submit does not work out, either way I will post what I find out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Due Process Hearing Saga Continues

I had a pre-hearing. The judge asked me if he has had services and if they had been maintained, I stated that they had, and that was not the point I was disputing. I was disputing the inital letter that stated that they had made the decision to remove his services due to funding problems, and let him know the only letter I have recieved from the state since then is a letter stating they were only providing services since they were forced to through litigation, and since there are new budget cuts proposed, I still had concerns.

The judge asked point blank if the decision had been reversed, or changed the reply "I don't know if I could say it was reversed" and they didn't know if it had been really changed either, they might just decide to go with that decision at a later point in time.

They also stated that they didn't know if they could give me a letter that would provide me with the "reassurance" that I needed (of course they didn't bother to ask, they assumed, and you know the old saying about assuming things). They did read a proposed draft letter they were thinking about giving to me, it sounded agreeable to me, but I still wanted to see it. They stated that they had to get approval from DES before they could provide me a copy, among some other things, and the judge issued a continuance.

So far, I just got word that they will not provide me with a letter, and as far as some of the other things, not a peep. Just goes to show how far they aren't willing to go for families.

My experience is, basically, in general, if someone is legitamate and following the law in business or otherwise, they have no problem putting things in writing for you. Anything else looks suspicious.

At least that is what consumer watch groups always tell you as well as news stations that do exposes on people getting robbed of their money. They tell you to not even deal with those individuals, and to report them.

Unfortunately we don't have a choice, and we don't really have anyone to report anyone to so we can get answers, or what we need.

I doubt I'll see a letter, I think I would have had an easier time if I had demmanded they pick up South Mountain and move it to Glendale.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I don't get it, I really don't. DES has come out with a proposed budget, granted it is not final or approved, but they are again proposing to reduce or eliminate Early Intervention and a host of other services. I guess they aren't tired of being sued. I'm not sure why they think they can accomplish these things this time around, if they try we are all willing to fight them. This isn't final or over, but we might want to start getting our dialing and typing fingers ready to contact our officials again.

Word is OSEP is planning a visit in November, I would love to meet with them too, as I'm sure many other parents would. Maybe we can organize and show up as a group when they are here, or form a protest outside the DES office. If anyone is interested, let me know.

The link to the "proposed" budget is below it is posted DES's main website page if you have trouble with the link:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Due Process Hearing is Set...

Well, at least I'm glad they didn't forget about us. The assistant attorney general contacted me and asked me if I wanted to go through with the hearing since "most of them are getting thrown out anyway because services are still in place"

I thought about it, and I realized that the last communication I have from the state in writing was a letter stating that they were providing services due to a court injunction, so I asked if I could get a written statement about what the state's current position is in regards to his services, if they reversed their decision to remove them, and is this a permanent change or temporary. I told them I was willing to drop the hearing if they would just provide me a written statement of their intentions, should be pretty straightforward right? I mean what is wrong with asking for this in writing? If they are legitmate and believe they are doing the right thing, why not put it in writing? Should be no problem right?


Here is a copy of the correspondence:

I have discussed your concerns regarding documentation with my clients at>> AzEIP.>>>> Their file shows that a letter was mailed to you dated March 23, 2009,>> with your son's name on it, indicating that services would continue per>> the IFSP.>>>> Did you receive this letter, and if so, is it sufficient documentation?>>

No, it is not. The letter states that services are going to continue > because> of a court injunction, and "The Department will of course comply with the> Court's ruling, but does intend to appeal the decision and ask the court > to> stay the injunction. Your services and supports will be continued as long > as> the preliminary injunction remains in effect">> I interpet this as to meaning that they can and do intend to remove > services> when the order is stayed (and I believe it has been), I want something > else> in writing expressing their intentions at this point and time, and whether> or not they have kept the decision to remove services or they have > reversed> their decision to remove services, and if the services are going to stay > in> place, is it permanent or is there a timeline? I can fax you a copy of the> letter if you need me to. Thanks!>

Thank you for your reply. I think that I have a copy of that letter in > the file. I understand your position, but am not able to commit the > department to any other communication at this time.

I guess that means we will go through with the hearing then, can you forward me the instructions? Thanks!

I don't set the instructions for the hearing. I think that the DES Appeals office includes instructions with the letter that they send out setting the date and time for the hearing. I suggest that if you need more information that you contact them regarding the specific procedures.

-I guess we will go through with the hearing, I'll write a post after it is over. If anyone has any info that can help me, tell me about their experience or advice, it would be greatly appreciated : )

Saturday, October 10, 2009

IDEA Act Survey, Here's a Chance to Give Feedback

Please fill out the surveys, and/or share them with other families. They are brief and quick. I believe that Raising Special Kids was appointed to gather the data for the Department of Education apart from the state.

Here are urls for the Raising Special Kids Parent Survey for Part C (AzEIP, early intervention) and Part B (ADE--preschool and school-aged special education). Please share these links with any families you know who have children who may have recieved or are currently receiving special education services in Arizona. Here are the actual URLs (website addresses) that can be pasted into a browser (or email or facebook entry or blog orĂ¢€¦.whatever) to navigate to the online survey:

Spanish Part C

Spanish Part B

English Part C

English Part B=0 A

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rumor Has it...

Rumor has it that the Family Cost Participation policy was submitted DESPITE everyone's objections at public hearings, and the OSEP approved it. It leaves me to wonder how much of public comments and concerns actually made it to OSEP for review, because frankly, I think that if they truly reviewed the concerns that I heard at the hearings that I attended, I can't see how they would think it was an acceptable policy.

DES supposedly made changes to the policy with our input in mind, but I wouldn't know, I cannot find any copies of the revised policy online to begin to comment. I do know I was furious when I heard this news. I don't think anyone was even for it, except DES of course.

I am concerned about how this will effect the future of our kids, what will this do to families struggling as it is? Will they even take debts or bills into account? Do they even care? They think we should pay out of pocket for it? REALLY??????? WHAT ABOUT THE TAXES WE PAY????? THAT SHOULD PAY FOR IT!

As you can tell I still am furious about this, because quite frankly, if we personally had to pay what they are proposing, looking at just our income and not our bills, we could not afford therapies for our son due to our debts, and if we can't there will be many other families in the same boat, and that to me is unacceptable, period. I doubt they would even track it, or maybe they would come up with some convoluted appeals process, like the one they tried to slide in illegally when the state attempted to remove our services, or better yet why don't we use due process? Let's clog up the courts some more, that will surely be great for the state won't it?

As far as I am concerned this is not over yet: there is an old saying "No matter how hard a door shuts, another opens, you just have to find it"

As soon as the policy and implementation comes out, you can bet I will be looking really hard for that other door.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It just Occured to me...

I know DES posted a sentance on their website about the service reinstatment, but it is in English, anyone have any word on where and how they plan to communicate this to Spanish speakers? The state of Arizona discrimininate? No- it can't be! They sent out their letters in both languages, I must be mistaken, feel free to give me the info so I can post it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

AZ Center for Disablity Law Agrees to Dismiss Lawsuit

ACDL has agreed to dismiss the current lawsuit they filed against the state because the state has agreed to continue services, for the next year at least. According to the article, they agreed to drop it, but still have the ability to file again if the needs arises. The article is below, and here is a link to it as well:

Arizona's Early Intervention Program Funded. Parties Agree to Dismiss ACDL Class Action Lawsuit.
Posted by Peri Jude Radecic on August 4, 2009 at 1:53pm
View Discussions
With Arizona’s Early Intervention Services funded for fiscal year 2010, the Arizona Center for Disability Law (Center), along with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, moved last week to dismiss the Center’s class action lawsuit filed against the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). On Monday, August 3, 2009, the U.S. District Court in Tucson ordered the action dismissed without prejudice. A dismissal without prejudice means that the Center could return to Court with the same cause of action.The Center filed its class action lawsuit in April 2009 to prevent the state from carrying out millions of dollars in budget cuts which violated federal and state law by eliminating or greatly reducing the provision of early intervention services to eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities. At the time, DES notified families that their children’s early intervention services would be reduced or suspended.The terms of the settlement, which led to the dismissal, included DES posting a notice on their website that states:Early Intervention UPDATE: The Department of Economic Security plans to continue providing early intervention services to eligible children and their families for the 2010 state fiscal year (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010).“The Center’s priority was to ensure that early intervention services were provided to every eligible child in Arizona,” said J.J. Rico, one of the attorneys who filed the class action lawsuit. “At this point, our clients are receiving services and we saw no need to continue with the lawsuit.”Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) is a statewide system of supports and services for families of children, birth to age three, with disabilities or developmental delays. AzEIP was created in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C, to aid infants and toddlers in catching up to their peers and/or learning to adapt to their disabilities; thereby avoiding possible institutionalization and reducing costs to the education sector and society in general. All fifty states provide services and supports under this federal law. In Arizona, AzEIP is a collaboration of activities by: DES; Arizona Department of Health Services; Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind; Arizona Department of Education; and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.The future of early intervention services beyond fiscal year 2010 remains uncertain as the Governor and state legislative leaders continue to debate additional budget cuts to bridge a growing budget deficit. Some analysts have estimated the current budget gap to be over $3 billion dollars.“The Court dismissed our suit without prejudice,” said Rico. “We can return to federal court to protect the rights of children with disabilities again if necessary.”Zoe M. v. Blessing is a continuation of the Center’s work to ensure that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education as guaranteed by federal and state law. The Center’s staff handles issues ranging from abusive seclusion and restraint, the failure to implement Individualized Education Plans, and disputes over related special education services.JoAnn Sheperd and J.J. Rico were the Center’s lead attorneys on this case.- 30 -The Arizona Center for Disability Law is a not for profit public interest law firm, dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals with a wide range of physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory and cognitive disabilities. The Arizona Center for Disability Law is authorized under various federal statutes to ensure the protection and advocacy of all individuals with disabilities in the state

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good News! Victory! Well, sort of...

The following is posted on the DES DDD site:

NEW Early Intervention Update: The Department of Economic Security plans to continue providing early intervention services to eligible children and their families for the 2010 state fiscal year (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010).

Here is the link:

Of course, you can't see it unless you know to look for it, because the only statement on the main DES homepage says this:

Early Intervention UPDATE The Department of Economic Security will not reduce early intervention services to eligible children from birth to age three and their families in state fiscal year 2009 (July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009) as a result of Senate Bill 1001.

Stupid? Absolutely! Surprising? Unfortunately not.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for a letter in the mail either, I wish they could think of some formal way of notifying families, it is not respectful or fair to any of us to just put a blurb that isn't even on their homepage, I just don't get it, they can find the money to notify us they have no money, but can't find the money to notify us that they do have money.

I just don't get it, I really don't, our taxes pay their salaries, to be honest I don't feel that we should be treated like this, after what they have put us through the LEAST they could do is send out letters or even have our caseworkers call us to give us an offical word, but NO! All they will post a little sentance on their site that you can't even see unless you look for it.


Well, it is bittersweet, I'm thrilled and relieved that the funding has come through and the program is no longer in danger, but on the other hand, I'm extremely disappointed yet again as to how this is being handled.

Maybe I'll call my elected officials for old time's sake and complain so they can make a note of it.

Maybe if we all do, they might at least be willing to send out letters or even call us. Who knows?

As far as this blog goes, I will have to do some thinking as to where to take it from here, I do want to help everyone and get more info out there, so it might become more research based, I would love to have anyone contribute any articles if they would like to do that as well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New AZ Supreme Court Ruling..Taking Funds from First Things First Ruled ILLEGAL!!!!

Sorry I haven't had too much to post lately, things have been quiet, and our services are continuing so far there hasn't been much to say : )

I did find this article in the Republic today, what I've speculated all along is true, the legilsature attempting to take accrued interest from First Things First to balance their budget was ILLEGAL and WENT AGAINST THE AZ CONSTITUTION THEY WERE PROTECTED FUNDS!

This is good news!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It looks like the Budget has Passed

There is an article in the AZ Republic that states Gov. Brewer has signed a new budget in. Here is the link:

According to the article, funding for the Department of Education, DES, and Department of Health all recieved funding, but the state's budget is still about $2 Billion out of balance, so we'll see where it goes from here, it certainly seems like good news, but like everything else, I will believe it when I see it, but so far, it sounds good.

Has anyone had any hearings yet? If so, how did they go?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Interesting Studies on Parents in the NICU and Post-Traumatic Stress

Here is a link to a recent article published on Parents in the NICU and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

It looks like there has been quite a bit of research on this topic.

Here is another link to a related article on parental stress of families with high risk babies in the NICU. There are a lot more, but there isn't a link I can post for the list, go to the end of this article, at the bottom there is a bar that says "Display" with a drop-down menu, click on the drop down and go to "related articles" it will pull up a lot more info. I know this is specific to infants in the NICU, but as I read on, I do get the sense that this could also apply to all parents of special needs children, feel free to read them and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't You Wish Everyone Would Just Grow Up?

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately, really things have been quiet and there has not been too much to post. I've seen in the news all kinds of info on the budget and the fighting that has been going on with the legislature. There's been arguing, walking out, and threats of lawsuits. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen nobody does, there has been talk that the government might just shut down if nobody can agree. My first reaction was great! Lets shut everything down, that will solve the problem! You'll show everyone who's boss won't you? Even if it is at the expense of the public you are supposed to serve.

It reminds me of my son sitting on the floor refusing to move and having a tantrum because he didn't get what he wanted, or two children fighting over the same toy.

It also reminds me of the car scenes in the movies when they would play "chicken" have two cars run full speed at each other, and the first one to turn the car out of the way was the "chicken".

I just hope someone turns before the state crashes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Deadline for Public Comment is Today!

If you haven't already commented on the proposed changes to AZEIP program, the deadline is 4 PM today. If you haven't please submit your comments to:
Written comment may be submitted electronically to ; mail to 3839 North Third Street, Suite 304, Phoenix, AZ 85012; or faxed to (602) 200-9820 any time prior to 4PM

All comments are to be "considered" before any changes are made, I'm not too sure what they mean by "considered" but it is gratifying to know your opinions are on record and are supposed to be reviewed.

I'm hoping that they won't attempt to implement a Family Cost Participation policy as it stands, they have not done any of the leg work that they should have to ensure that it would even work if they implemented it. As it stands now, they would probably loose money if they could even get organized enough to implement it.

Anyone that wants to use the content from this blog in their communications is welcome to do so.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Night's Meeting

I went to the meeting last night, and this time my husband was in tow, since he is a CPA he had another interesting perspective on what isn't being done, brought out things that were not known and things that have not been considered in the proposed Family Cost Policy.

  • There has been no study as to how much money will be brought in, nobody how knows how many families will be effected or if the state can even bring enough money to make this worth it
  • The policy states they use an AZ tax return to calculate your income for the program, but what they don't realize is that these returns cap the amount of losses you are allowed to report on them. For instance, you could have over a million dollars in investment losses, but you are only allowed to report $3000 of it on your return
  • They have not looked at any other avenues or means of calculating someone's income, they have not looked at county or federal programs equations, or even private industry (like the mortgage industry to calculate income vs debt ratio).
  • There is no accurate way to inform families how much they will wind up having to pay in the long run
  • They need to do a study to see if it is even feasible, it did not seem like they had plans to do so
  • In the policy it stated that if parents don't pay, then they refer it to a department within the state that will start a collections process, which means that parent's wages can be garnished, tax returns withheld etc. (they did state that this was not supposed to happen, but I'm not sure what they expect when you refer these situations to that department, do they expect that they would have the paperwork just sit there?) but funny, the policy doesn't mention this at all. If it did I can tell you it could be a huge deterrent for parents, especially in times where our job situations and structures are so fragile, why would you even think of agreeing to something like that or have something hanging like that over your head? It's ridiculous
  • They seem to expect that service coordinators will collect the financial data. As a former Social Worker, I can tell you right now that is out of their scope of practice, Social Workers and Educators are not accountants, if they wanted to be accountants for the most part, they would be accountants, it pays better. I can only speak for myself, but I can tell you one of the reasons I was drawn to the Social Work profession in the first place was because of my LACK of aptitude for accounting and numbers. I asked if there were aware of any service coordinators that had financial or accounting experience in their background, the answer was no.
  • There was also the fact of discussing how the info would be collected and transported, service coordinators do their paperwork by hand, does that mean they sit there with a calculator? Do they take a copy of your tax return, put it in a file in their car and drive it around all day until they come back to the office? What about coordinators that work from home? That hasn't been answered yet.
  • The policy states that parents are supposed to have an idea of the cost (or at least know the percentage they will be responsible for) before they sign an IFSP, how can that be possible, especially when there is a waiting list for services, nobody knows how long it will take to put thing in place, and different providers can charge different rates? What if you move? Different geographic areas have different rates.
  • If children are on AHCCCS they will provide their services instead of AZEIP or DDD. I asked if all providers were able to bill AHCCCS, not all AZEIP providers are contracted with AHCCCS, the answer was to just get another provider or help your current provider contract with them! WHY IS THAT OUR ROLE? NOT ALL PARENTS EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS STUFF MEANS BUT ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL OUR PROVIDERS WHO TO CONTRACT WITH? What about continuity of care? That would be out the window too.
  • There does not seem to be any planned outreach to providers to assist in the process of transitioning to working with AHCCCS instead of AZEIP or DDD.

Of course I asked if someone was responsible for 100% of the state's cost, why would they bother being in the program? They told me that they would get service coordination and support for free.

GREAT! They will coordinate services that families will not be receiving because they can't afford to be or aren't able to participate in the program! Good for them! Let's document how far behind these children get because of a lack of services, it will give parents some ammunition if they want to sue the state later. BRILLIANT!

Wait? How can you coordinate services if there aren't any services to coordinate?

Darned if I know!

PLEASE PLEASE if you live in the Tucson area attend tonight's meeting:

May 28, 2009 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Himmel Park Branch Library Meeting Room 1035 N. Treat Avenue Tucson, AZ

I won't be traveling to Tucson to be there (as fun as it would be to travel with a 20 month old in the car for 3 hours to go a meeting and back again) but I would love for someone who can go to send me the info on the meeting, any updates and let me know how it went, I will be more than happy to post it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hearing Reminder, in Phoenix Today from 4PM to 6PM

I was on vacation, so I apologize that I didn't get a chance to post the reminder sooner, the hearing about the proposed changes to the AZEIP program in regards to family cost participation will be held today starting at 4PM in the Yucca Library Meeting Room 5648 N. 15th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85015

PLEASE PLEASE try to attend this meeting and make your comments, there were very few parents at the last one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Latest Statement on AZEIP Services

DES has the following posted in tiny print on the right side of their homepage screen, I was looking for it and almost missed it, I don't think it is an accident it is so small:

Early Intervention UPDATE The Department of Economic Security will not reduce early intervention services to eligible children from birth to age 3 and their families in state fiscal year 2009 (July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009) as a result of Senate Bill 1001.

While this seems like it might be good news it is not because they do not answer the question of WHAT HAPPENS AFTER JUNE 30? ARE SERVICES GOING TO CONTINUE AFTER JULY 1?

Another issue, why are they not sending this statement out in the mail? They have no problems in sending out letters that clearly violate the law and our civil rights but all of a sudden they have a problem sending out letters RESTORING WHAT IS LEGALLY OURS TO BEGIN WITH? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Now that I think about it, maybe they don't want us to call and complain to the Department of Education again, because, I'm sure they cannot tell us or are not supposed to tell us us that our services are going to be limited or imply they might cut them off again, maybe this statement in and of itself is not something they are supposed to even put out there to begin with, which is why they are not making more of an effort to inform us.

Has anyone else noticed this or been told about it?

I can't stress enough the importance of the due process hearings, if nothing else to make our voices heard.

I think everyone needs to either contact AZEIP, DDD, DES or their Case Manager and ask the question of what is going to happen to our services on July 1, I know I will, and I will be more than happy to post the answers. If anyone has a story about how they lost services as a result of this fiasco, or the harm and distress it has caused you or your loved ones, I will be happy to post that too, feel free to email me at

Povider Rates

I was just told by one of my providers that she recieved a notice that the state is cutting provider rates by 10% again, I'm not too sure if this is even legal, I know that one of the previous documents that I have read requires the state to do some sort of study and determine if the cuts are reasonable and won't provide an undue hardship on providers, who wants to be that this didn't happen?

If I were one of the providers, I would be calling the Department of Special Ed and try to file a formal complaint. Anyone else hear anything like this? If someone has a copy of the notice or the regulation I will be happy to post it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Services Are Not "Safe" Yet

I have been getting some info from parents that some case managers are stating to families that their services are "safe" for now, and as a result families are cancelling their due process hearings, in fact quite a few due process hearings have been cancelled since the injunction was put into place. You might want to reinstate the due process hearing if you can since the injunction has been lifted, contact AZEIP and find out what you need to do, feel free to send me the info you get and I will post it for other parents to see.

I would HIGHLY recommend that we go through with them anyway, I would like to see us officially document what has been happening. There is also the possibility that they could attempt to drop services again, especially since the injunction stopping them was lifted. It isn't clear if we would have to go through the whole process of sending in letters again, or how long it would take.

Personally, I would not believe anything without documentation, if someone tells you that your services will stay in place with out due process, ask them for how long and then get it in writing from them, if they won't give it to you in writing, then chances are pretty strong it is not official, if it is official and sanctioned, sending out a letter to you should not be a problem for them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

If you Want to Email Me...

I have had a lot of specific questions, and for some reason, I either can't post an email link or I just can't find it on blogger, so I created a hotmail account if anyone wants to get in touch with me. The address is:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jumping off a Bridge...

Sorry it took me time to post this, we had a busy weekend, but I did go to the hearing on the proposed family cost sharing. It was a little unsettling. I asked several questions, and feel uneasy about the answers I have received.

I asked how the state plans to meet the EPSDT requirements for children on AHCCCS and DDD if this is instituted, the answer was that AHCCCS would just take over the EPSDT required therapies. I first pointed out that I could not find any documentation in their policy that states this, and asked them to redirect me if I missed it, they didn't. I also asked what the transition plan would be for the children migrating their services to AHCCCS, it turns out there isn't one. Disturbing to say the least. I asked if they expected parents to figure this out on their own because I sure couldn't, AHCCCS told me they didn't know what I was talking about when I've called them in the past and asked them to transition services when this all began, they didn't know what I was talking about. They admitted I had a point and were going to "check into it"

I pointed out that there is a lot of rhetoric being discussed by politicians about helping the middle class, and that this is a policy that not only is directed at the middle class, but will burden the middle class exclusively and that isn't appropriate either.

I asked them if they had done a cost benefit analysis and assessed the pros and cons of instituting this program in AZ. The answer I got is that they looked at "other states", some broke even, some lost money, and some gained (not sure there was another option). I asked exactly what states, they couldn't recall all of them, they told me were New Jersey, South Carolina, and Utah to name a few, there were 13 in total. Also being a former Human Resources Professional, I asked them if they specifically looked at ARIZONA. Would the benefits outweigh the costs in ARIZONA. The answer was no, they had not assessed the impact it would have in the state of Arizona. I know from working at multi state companies that you can look at the work, you can look at the time it takes someone to do a task someplace else, but to REALLY REALLY assess the cost of something, you need to take the information of staffing hours, benefits, time off from other tasks, and the extra time it takes to do those tasks as well as the new ones in addition to the time effort and dollars to get something like this running (training staff, updating providers, extra time spent with families by staff, extra time staff has to take to be on the phone explaining things to a number of people) not to mention handling any legal opposition, and plug that into pay and benefits for staff in ARIZONA. We have different demographics, we have different standards of living, we have different geography, we a differently type of system all together, it is unrealistic to think you can just copy what other states are doing and assume it will work for you too. It won't work. Anybody in a corporate environment can tell you that.

Never mind the uneasy possibility that the state is somehow looking to make money off disabled children and their families.

It reminded me of an old saying I constantly heard as a child when I wanted to do what the "other kids" were doing.

"If you're friends wanted to jump off a bridge without looking down would you do it too?"

I have the uneasy feeling the state is wanting to jump off that bridge without looking down, just because the other states are doing it too.

"Stay Put" Hearing Set for May 20th

In the case of Zoe vs Blessing, a stay put hearing has been scheduled for May 20th, if granted, it would have a similar effect as the injunction which would basically mean that DES would be forced by the court to continue services. For more info you can go to the following link on the AZ Center for Disablity Law's discussion website:

AZ Central Article this AM on Budget Cuts

Here is a link to another article from the AZ Republic this AM

I think we should also contact the Representative quoted in the article and let him know what we think of his stance on this issue.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meeting Reminder: Speak Out On Changes for AZEIP May 8th in Phoenix

There is a "Public Notice" posted on their site in regards to an application of funds and changes to the AZEIP program that they want to institute. The link to the site is here:

One of my concerns is still their proposed "Family Cost Participation Policy" it goes as follows: AzEIP will institute a Family Cost Participation (FCP), this would require that families whose children receive services from AzEIP and DDD (but not ASDB) families making over 200% of the federal poverty level will pay 15% of the costs of their child's services (therapies, not service coordination, evaluations/assessments or IFSP development) and then it will increase by 5% to 100% of the costs.

I don't really know where we would fit in all of this, but I find it disturbing to say the least. I looked through the policy, it just says that they somehow use your tax return and a calculation (with no real detail) as to how they determine your income. It doesn't discuss whether or not they fit your expenses into the equation, or what happens if you can't pay, or what your and your child's rights are if you can't pay. It also does not mention how those with private insurance fit into their little equation either.Then there is the phrase "and then it will increase by 5% to 100% of the costs" Huh? How often does it increase, how do they decide the interval of the increase, how do they determine whether or not it increases? Where does private insurance fit in? How do they fit your medical expenses in?

I sent them an email with those questions, and surprise of surprises, nobody bothered to respond.

There is nothing indicating any tax breaks or implications either, would these services qualify as a deduction? Who knows?Here is link to some info I was able to find on the Federal Poverty Line they they are thinking of using:

I would encourage everyone that is able to attend the hearing in Phoenix and speak out on these changes. The info is as follows:

Phoenix May 8, 2009
2:30-3:30 p.m.AZ DOT – HRDC Grand Canyon Rooms 1&2 1130 N. 22nd Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85009

I plan on attending, and bringing my son since it is during the day I don't have a sitter, but I think this is important, and I figure they should have made it after business hours if they didn't want us to bring our children, it should be interesting to say the least.

Friday, May 1, 2009

How to Make Sure You Still Have Services - Keep Up With Due Process Hearings

I just wanted to add a blurb about the importance of the due process hearings again. I've heard that a number of parents choose to cancel them due to services remaining in place because of the injunction (that and some of the phone calls AZEIP made which gave some parents a false sense of security that their services would remain in place)

If you don't know if you still are supposed to have a hearing, call AZEIP and find out, if not find out what you need to do to get the ball rolling again. Remember, according to the books, services have to stay in place until the hearing, and if scheduling is going the way mine is (it has been over 60 days) services could remain in place for a while.

Some Hope From Arizona Center for Disability Law

Here is a recent statement from AZ Center for Disablity law that was posted on their site today:

Yesterday, in Arizona Association of Providers for Persons with Disabilities (AAPPD) v. State of Arizona, the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a preliminary injunction issued by the Maricopa County Superior Court. This injunction stopped cuts to state-only DDD services and halted a 10% rate reduction for DDD home and community based service providers. These cuts to rates and services were made by the Department of Economic Security in an attempt to close its budget shortfall caused by Arizona’s budget deficit.

The Court of Appeals held that, while Plaintiffs had shown that they may be harmed by the cuts, they failed to raise serious legal questions that would justify the injunction. The Court found that it is unlikely AAPPD will be able to show that the state violated any state or federal law by imposing the service cuts and rate reductions. The Arizona Center for Disability Law filed a declaration and amicus brief in support of this lawsuit.

The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the Maricopa County Superior Court for a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit. AAPPD has indicated that it will appeal the decision to dismiss the injunction to the Arizona Supreme Court.

The action taken by the Arizona Court of Appeals is related only to the lawsuit filed by AAPPD, not class actions filed by the Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL), such as Ball v. Rodgers (Medicaid-funded home and community based services) or Zoe M. v. Blessing (violations of federal IDEA Part C).

Jennifer Nye, ACDL staff attorney, commented to the press, “We know that thousands of adults and children with disabilities are going to be harmed by these cuts in services and rates. We feel it is also very short-sighted of the state to balance its budget on the back of its most vulnerable population.”

ACDL will continue to provide support to the lawyers representing AAPPD as they move forward with their lawsuit

Here is a link to their site for more updates:

-It is unclear what the state is going to do next, they have not updated their site with any recent info as of yet. It is also unclear if the injunction is going to stay in place while AAPPD appeals the decision, I think it is supposed to, but it's hard because nobody seems to know what the state is going do just yet. It would make sense to keep services in place pending the outcome of the appeal, and the other suit as well. We'll see I will keep posting as soon as I get more info.

The Court has Granted the State's Appeal

If the AZ Republic is accurate, it looks like the State court has granted the State's appeal to remove the injunction, no word yet as to how this is going to effect things or what is happening, I will do some research and keep everyone posted, there are some other lawsuits in place that might also effect services. Here is a link to the article:

Meanwhile, I am still waiting for my due process hearing, it is almost 60 days since my request, 30 days overdue. My advice for now is to not panic just yet, wait for some more info to come out, and if you have requested a hearing and it has not been scheduled, call and check on the status of it. If services are removed again, and no hearings scheduled even though you applied for due process, try contacting the Department of Education Civil Rights Division, they might let you file a civil rights complaint. You can find contact info here:

I'm not sure if these judges are elected or not, if they are I personally am going to try to find out their names, and actively campaign against their relection for the next term, most people don't pay attention to their names on the ballots, I will make sure they do this time if this is the case, if they are going to make these decisions, then they should be held accountable and loose their positions because this is definelty not the will of the general public that put them there.

Maybe we should organize another protest either in front of the courthouse or in front of the Governor's office instead of the Capital building, any ideas?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Email Template for Writing Legislators

Here is some good info thanks to Hacienda Healthcare!

We need your help to contact legislators about preserving the services your family member depends on. Many legislators do not have a clear picture of a person with developmental disabilities. It is up to you to be sure your legislators know why your family member needs services. This is not the time to be proud of what they can do – be realistic about the services they need that you now receive, and why.

To find your legislators, go to
or call 602.926.3559 for the Senate Roster or 602.926.4221 for the House of Representatives Roster.

We recommend you email your Senators and Representatives TODAY – they are making decisions now. You have one state senator and two state legislators who will be making decisions very soon for the new budget starting in July, and state revenues continue to drop. Stimulus dollars are helping, but they do not close the gap.

The following is a suggested format for your email letter. Legislators will usually open ones from people who live in their district – those they actually represent so in the subject line state A Note from a Family in Your District.

A suggested letter template:

Dear Representative (or Senator_____)
(Remember you have two reps and one senator who each should receive a letter.

(Begin with your name & address at the top so they immediately recognize that you are in their district.)

Since I live in your area, I am writing to you for help. My (son or daughter) is a (male or female) who is ____ years old. He or she is developmentally disabled (tell why - at birth or other circumstance). (Let your son or daughter’s personality come through in your message, but keep each part of the message 3 to 4 sentences).

In three sentences or less tell why your individual needs services. Be sure to be specific as to what your family member’s limitations are; for instance: doesn’t talk, can’t bathe without help, toileting, mobility, etc, and whether he or she can exist without those services. If your son/daughter has chronic illnesses, specify those as well.

Describe the services he or she now receives, and how your son or daughter benefits – in one or two sentences.

Add one or two sentences about what would happen if the service were no longer available because your provider closes due to cuts in services. Explain whether you could provide the care yourself, or if not, what would happen – if there is any option.

In your own words, ask your legislator to please consider how necessary the services are to your son or daughter’s safety and health. Ask the legislator if he or she would like to meet with your son or daughter.

If there is no response in two days, send a second email. Please contact me once you have sent your emails and once you have received a response from your legislators.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No News on Court Cases

I checked the notes at both the Superior Court and the Appellate Court, there are no new entries. I do know that they were supposed to be having a hearing at the Appellate Court on the 23rd, but it looks like that was just to present sides of the argument, as far as I know there is no new ruling as of yet.

I am still waiting for my due process hearing to be scheduled, so far, they are 20 days past their 30 day deadline.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Budget Meeting Appears to Have Been Called Off

Senator Jack Harper had sent an email to someone on a yahoo group that the appropriations budget meeting has been "called off" I'm assuming it was cancelled, no word on when or if there will be another meeting anytime soon.

I think it would make sense for them to wait to see what the rulings on the current lawsuits are before they try to figure out the budget, otherwise they would probably be forced to have another meeting to revise it.

But then again, when does it ever make sense?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Legislative Alert

I wonder if there is a coincidence that this budget meeting is taking place right before the AAPD case is heard in the Appellate Court. This is a notice from the Governors Council on Disabilities.







As you know, services that people with disabilities and their families depend on sustained major cuts in the FY09 Budget solution and due to the state's continued economic crisis, there is an additional deficit that remains for FY2009 (estimated at $400-$500 million). Legislators will likely have to revisit the FY2009 Budget and may have to make additional cuts to critical state funded programs and services that Arizonans with disabilities and their families rely on.

Legislators are ALSO trying to resolve and even GREATER deficit in FY2010 (approximately 2 times the deficit in FY09 ($3 - 3.4 billion).

Although the federal stimulus monies may help the situation somewhat, the specifics are still somewhat unclear.

Because of this, Legislators are desperately looking at ways to save the state money.

That may include ADDITIONAL cuts to crucial services and programs that people with disabilities and their families depend on.

It is likely that the Budget Bills scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee this Thursday will move quickly through the process which means that there is very LITTLE time left to advocate for the preservation of critical health and human services that Arizonans with disabilities and their families depend on.


Call and email the Senate Appropriations Committee Members before the Appropriations Committee hearing this Thursday, April 23, 2009 and encourage the Committee Members to advocate in the hearing for the preservation of critical services that people with disabilities and their families depend on for basic quality of life!!

AFTER you contact the Senate Appropriations Committee Members, call and email your legislators and as many of the members of the Senate and House Leadership as possible. Encourage them to also help safeguard crucial services that people with disabilities and their families rely on.

If you are working during the day and cannot make calls and send emails during regular business hours - then call and leave voicemail messages and send emails at whatever time you can. REMEMBER: Make the process work for you! Do anything and everything that you can.

If you have an account with 'ALIS' be sure to sign-on online(on the day of the Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing, Thursday, April 23, 2009 before 9:30am) and leave your comments regarding Arizona's Budget.

Get your friends, family members, neighbors, and acquaintances to do ALL of the above!!!

If you support this issue - What YOU Need to Say

* Briefly tell them your personal story. Explain how cuts would affect you and others.

Consider reminding them that: * Thousands of Arizonans are Counting on them to address the budget deficit by identifying areas that do not cause irrevocable harm to Arizonans with disabilities and their families .* That you'd like them to fight hard to preserve funding for critical services for people with disabilities
* Cutting health and human services is not eradicating luxury; it is eliminating life sustaining necessities.* Addressing the budget deficit isn't just about numbers; it's also about assuring that Arizonans with disabilities are afforded the most basic human accommodation; shelter, food, health care, provision for mobility, education, employment, critical early intervention and rehabilitation services.

IN ADDITON TO YOUR LEGISLATORS, CONTACT AS MANY OF THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE AS YOU CAN: Members of the Senate LeadershipPresident: Robert "Bob" Burns (R-9)Phone Number: (602) 926-5993Email Address: Rburns@azleg. gov President Pro Tempore: Thayer Verschoor (R-22)Phone Number: (602) 926-4136Email Address: tverschoor@azleg. govMajority Leader: Chuck Gray (R-19)Phone Number: (602) 926-5288Email Address: cgray@azleg. govMajority Whip: Pamela Gorman (R-6)Phone Number: (602) 926-5284Email Address: pgorman@azleg. govMinority Leader: Jorge Luis Garcia (D-27)Phone Number: (602) 926-4321Email Address: jgarcia@azleg. govAsst. Minority Leader: Rebecca Rios (D-23)Phone Number: (602) 926-5685Email Address: rrios@azleg. govMinority Whip: Linda Lopez (D-29)Phone Number: (602) 926-4089Email Address: llpoez@azleg. gov Members of the House Leadership Speaker of the House: Kirk Adams (R-19)Phone Number: (602) 926-5495Email Address: kadams@azleg. govSpeaker Pro Tempore: Steven B. Yarbrough (R-21)Phone Number: (602) 926-5863Email Address: syarbrough@azleg. govMajority Leader: John McComish (R-20)Phone Number: (602) 926-5898Email Address: jmccomish@azleg. gov Majority Whip: Andrew Tobin (R-1)Phone Number: (602) 926-5172Email Address: atobin@azleg. govMinority Leader: David Lujan (D-15)Phone Number: (602) 926-5829Email Address: dlujan@azleg. govAsst. Minority Leader: Kyrsten Sinema (D-15)Phone Number: (602) 926-5058Email Address: ksinema@azleg. gov Minority Whip: Chad Campbell (D-14)Phone Number: (602) 926-3026Email Address: ccampbell@azleg. gov Senate Appropriations Committee Chairperson: Russell Pearce (R-18)Phone Number: (602) 926-5760Email Address: rpearce@azleg. govVice-Chair: Al Melvin (R-26)Phone Number: (602) 926-4326Email Address: amelvin@azleg. gov Member: Pamela Gorman (R-6)Phone Number: (602) 926-5284Email Address: pgorman@azleg. gov Member: Ron Gould (R-3)Phone Number: (602) 926-4138Email Address: rgould@azleg. govMember: Sylvia Allen (R-5)Phone Number: (602) 926-5219Email Address: sallen@azleg. govMember: Paula Aboud (D-28)Phone Number: (602) 926-5262Email Address: paboud@azleg. govMember: Amanda Aguirre (D-24)Phone Number: (602) 926-4139Email Address: aaguirre@azleg. gov Member: Rebecca Rios (D-23)Phone Number: (602) 926-5685Email Address: rrios@azleg. govMember: Albert Hale (D- 2)Phone Number: (602) 926-4323Email Address: ahale@azleg. gov Member: Jack Harper (R-4)Phone Number: (602) 926-4178Email Address: jharper@azleg. govMember: Steve Pierce (R-1)Phone Number: (602) 926-5584Email Address: spierce@azleg. govHouse Appropriations CommitteeChairperson: John Kavanagh (R-8)Phone Number: (602) 926-5170Email Address: jkavanagh@azleg. gov Vice-Chair: Andy Biggs (R-22)Phone Number: (602) 926-4371Email Address: abiggs@azleg. gov Member: Steve Court (R-18)Phone Number: (602) 926-4467Email Address: scourt@azleg. govMember: Olivia Cajero Bedford (D-27)Phone Number: (602) 926-5835Email Address: ocajerobedford@ azleg.govMember: Cloves C. Campbell, Jr. (D-16)Phone Number: (602) 926-3042Email Address: clcampbell@azleg. govMember: Russell Jones (R-24)Phone Number: (602) 926-3002Email Address: rjones@azleg. govMember: Rich Crandall (R-19)Phone Number: (602) 926-3020Email Address: rcrandall@azleg. govMember: Matt Heinz (D-29)Phone Number: (602) 926-3424Email Address: mheinz@azleg. gov Member: Nancy McLain (R-3)Phone Number: (602) 926-5051Email Address: nmclain@azleg. govMember: Rick Murphy (R-9)Phone Number: (602) 926-3255Email Address: rmurphy@azleg. gov Member: Kyrsten Sinema (D-15)Phone Number: (602) 926-5058Email Address: ksinema@azleg. gov Member: David Schapira (D-17)Phone Number: (602) 926-3028Email Address: dschapira@azleg. gov Member: Vic Williams (R-26)Phone Number: (602) 926-5839Email Address: vwilliams@azleg. gov

Video on "Special Needs Survival"

Here is a link to a video that I just noticed on the AZ Repblic website, it looks like they are talking about the AAPD lawsuit

Monday, April 20, 2009

The State's Appeal Info for AAPPD Case

I found the number for the AAPD (Ariona Association of Providers for Persons with Disablities) case is cv90167, it looks like the appeal is scheduled to be heard on Thursday April 23rd at 10:30 AM in the Appelate Court. This is the case that currently has the injunction in place so we can still have services. I can't tell if it is open to the public or not, I'll try to get a chance to call and ask, I probably can't go due to childcare issues, if anyone knows feel free to post the info in the comments. Here is a link to the online course document:

Here is a link to the Appelate Court website:

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Lawsuit Against DES

There has been another lawsuit filed against DES to help us maintain services! The Arizona Center for Disabled Law filed a federal lawsuit in the US District court on Wednesday, it is different than the other suit that has the injunction in place because that suit had been filed in an Arizona court, this one is in a court that has federal instead of state jurisdiction. Hopefully, this suit will help us strengthen our case for needed services and be a backup incase something happens and the other injunction is lifted. Here are the links to some articles:

AZ Central:

ABC 15

Tucson Citizen

USA Today

Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Center for Disabled Law has also posted some info on their website as well:

You can view a copy of the complaint for free through the Arizona Center for Disabled Law's website here:

Since it has been filed in the US district court, there is a charge to download case documents from the court's website to read it, if anyone is interested in paying to look at it, just go to "Case Information" at this link:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

March of Dimes March for Babies Walk: Saturday April 18

The annual March of Dimes March for Babies is going to be held on Saturday March 18th at Wesley Bolin Plaza, check in time is 7am and the walk is at 8am. Since my son is a preemie, this is a cause that is near and dear to us. I will be walking with both my husband and my son; we're also hoping we can catch up with some of my son's former NICU Nurses. Here is a link to the local March of Dimes website with more info:

Friday, April 10, 2009

DES is at it Again

There is a "Public Notice" posted on their site in regards to an application of funds and changes to the AZEIP program that they want to institute. The link to the site is here:

It looks like there is going be a series of "public hearings" to "discuss" these issues

Persons submitting comments on specific items in the application should indicate support, opposition, suggested changes, additions, or deletions pertaining to the specific item. Input received by DES/AzEIP by 4:00 p.m. on June 3, 2009 will be considered. If you are unable to access the application electronically, please contact DES/AzEIP at (602) 532-9960; toll-free at (888) 439-5609, or by e-mail at

One of my concerns is their proposed "Family Cost Participation Policy" it goes as follows:

AzEIP will institute a Family Cost Participation (FCP), this would require that families whose children receive services from AzEIP and DDD (but not ASDB) families making over 200% of the federal poverty level will pay 15% of the costs of their child's services (therapies, not service coordination, evalutions/assessments or IFSP development) and then it will increase by 5% to 100% of the costs.

I don't really know where we would fit in all of this, but I find it disturbing to say the least. I looked through the policy, it just says that they use your tax return and a calculation (with no real detail) as to how they determine your income. It doesn't discuss whether or not they fit your expenses into the equation, or what happens if you can't pay, or what your and your child's rights are if you can't pay. It also does not mention how those with private insurance fit into their little equation either.

Then there is the phrase "and then it will increase by 5% to 100% of the costs" Huh? How often does it increase, how do they decide the interval of the increase, how do they determine whether or not it increases? Where does private insurance fit in? How do they fit your medical expenses in?

For a change, it looks shady and makes absolutely no sense.

Personally, I don't like being told what I can and cannot afford by someone else, aside from the fact that my son is legally disabled and has a right to edcuational services, it seems comprable to requiring parents to pay for public school, forcing people to pay for things they have a right to under the law does not make sense to me. Never mind the fact the people that pay the most in taxes have to pay the most for their services. There is nothing indicating any tax breaks or implications either, would these services quailfy as a deduction? Who knows?

Here is link to some info I was able to find on the Federal Poverty Line they they are thinking of using:

There are also going to be "hearings" on this issue the info is following:

May 8, 2009 2:30-3:30 p.m.
AZ DOT – HRDC Grand Canyon Rooms 1&2 1130 N. 22nd Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85009

May 26, 2009 2:00-4:00 p.m.
East Flagstaff Community Library Meeting Room 3000 N. Fourth Street, Suite 5 Flagstaff, AZ 86004

May 27, 2009 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Yucca Library Meeting Room 5648 N. 15th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85015

May 28, 2009 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Himmel Park Branch Library Meeting Room 1035 N. Treat Avenue Tucson, AZ 85716

Anyone notice that all of these hearings are taking place during business hours? Those of us that have jobs might not be able to attend, or will have to take off of work, as if people that have special needs children don't have to take enough time off of work already. I'm going to try to go to at least one, and I'm going to write them too, I would love input on how we can best word our objections. Let me know what you all think!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Delay in Due Process Hearing Schedule

I got a voicemail from AZEIP yesterday, they have not scheduled our due process hearing yet, the hearing officer informed them that they are behind due to the impact of the budget cuts for their office, they are aware they are going to miss their 30 day timeline for us, but will let me know as soon as it is scheduled.

Does anyone have a similar story or any other info?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Due Process Hearings- Has Anyone Had One Yet?

I know it's been a little while since my last post, I have taken advantage of our great weather and the end of RSV season to go out and about quite a bit, but I looked at the calendar last week and found that my Due Process hearing has not been scheduled as of yet, I called AZEIP, and they didn't know what was going on or if "any" of the hearings have even been scheduled. They were going to try to figure out what was going on and get back to me, so far, I haven't heard anything yet.

Has anyone had their hearing or at least had their hearing scheduled?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the News Today: First Things First Sues the State

Here is the text from an article that came out on azcentral today, the link is below.

Educational group sues to recover $7 mil
by Matthew Benson - Mar. 31, 2009 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic

The First Things First early-childhood-education board filed a lawsuit Monday to block the state from taking $7 million from a fund created by Arizona voters three years ago.The special-action suit was filed in state Supreme Court and names as defendants Gov. Jan Brewer, state Treasurer Dean Martin and state Comptroller D. Clark Partridge. The suit comes a couple of months after state officials, as part of a $1.6 billion budget fix for fiscal 2009, moved $7 million in interest accruing from a First Things First account into the state general fund.Arizona voters in 2006 agreed to hike tobacco taxes as part of Proposition 203, which set aside the revenue for children's education and health programs. As with other voter-approved initiatives, the lawsuit argues that the funding is off-limits to cuts unless the Legislature can muster a three-quarters vote of the House and Senate and show that its action would further the intent of the initiative.This is at least the fifth lawsuit involving the 2009 budget.

My thoughts? I am still trying to figure out how on earth the legislature thinks it is okay to try to take funds intended and directed by the state's voters for the education of children. I just don't get it, I know this is the west, but the wild west days of doing whatever you want regardless of the rules should be over by now.Funny, they sure can find money to go to court and try to defend themselves, I haven't heard of them cutting funds for their legal expenses. I'll try to find more info on the other lawsuits listed and post it as well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Someone Else...

I found this reprinted in an article recently, nobody knows the original author (at least I can't find it), but I thought it would make a good post on a lighter note, and I thought it makes a good point.

"Some years ago, there was an imagined obituary making the rounds of religious bulletins that speaks the issue of taking responsibility.

'"Our community was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else. Someone's passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person's share of the work.

Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list: 'Let Someone Else do it.'"Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results; 'Someone Else can work with that group.'

It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in our community. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference. Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman.

Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone. We wonder what we are going to do. Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? Remember - we can't depend on Someone Else anymore."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Raising Special Kids Event-March 28th

If you live in the Phoenix area, Raising Special Kids is having an event at the Mc Cormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale on Saturday the 28th from 10am to 2pm. FREE train rides, carnival activities, carousel rides, games, activity booths, clowns ,face painting, petting zoo, plus lots of food and ice cream...all for FREE!

Here is the link where you can download the flyer:

I am planning on attending with my son, hope to see you there : )

Got My Letter Restoring Services-on the 24th

Basically, it says pretty much the same exact statement on their website that I put out in an earlier post, services have been restored due to a court order, and they are appealing the decision. I noticed that it was post marked and dated on the 23rd when the order was given to send it out on the 11th.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Due Process Hearings - Another Point in Going Through With Them

I know AzEIP has been calling to "confirm" that people still want their hearings because they still have services now, they called me too. I have also seen some parents saying that AzEIP is willing to put their hearings "on hold" to see what happens and if the state's appeal goes through, they will initiate the hearings. They didn't tell me that, but if they did, I would not have agreed to it anyway.

Again, I'm not a lawyer, but it sounds odd to me. The legal timeline for hearings is 30 days from the date of the request, I'm curious to know how it could even be legal to put due process "on hold", if this is true, but maybe it is if they make it look like you requested it, I'm not entirely sure, I would appreciate input from someone that knows for sure if they would like to comment.

I'm going through with mine just the same, again DDD's decision has not changed at all, they are being forced to provide services due to the court order, they want their letters to still stand.

I was going through some notes I had from speaking with the Department of Education in Washington, DC when all of this started. Things were still hectic then, and I was just trying to gather information from anywhere I could find it. At that time they advised me to go through the procedural safeguards (I had forgot I even had a booklet, at the time we signed up, my son had just came home, was on oxygen, and I was operating on zero sleep) file for the due process hearing, and if my son's services were still not restored at that point, they would look at my filing a civil rights violation complaint with them. Again, I'm not a lawyer, but it sounds like there would be a pretty strong case with them if due process fails.

I'm willing to bet DES doesn't want any investigations of their program on the federal level, especially considering the fact that the Department of Health and Human Services just dinged them on some of their AHCCCS policies.

We'll see.

Tax Increase Rumors

There have been a few rumors floating around that our services have been removed as a political move to make a case for increasing taxes, and if voters vote down the tax increase, the removal of services will be permanent. I sincerely hope that this is just a rumor and this is not true, I personally have difficulty wrapping my head around the idea of victimizing handicapped children and their families to make this. I would hope that if this was the case, those involved do not truly understand the emotional toll and impact it has had on us all, I just can't understand it if it is intentional, or even true.

One thing I can say to them is this. I will not give up on my son. Not now, not ever, period.

I sat by him in a hospital for 72 days, there were a few close calls, and as difficult as this struggle is, it is a cake walk compared to what I had to go through helplessly watching him struggle just to stay alive. I'm sure there are many parents in the same boat, if we can make it through that, we can can make it through anything.

No matter what happens. If the final decision is to take services away, it will probably effect him and his functioning for the rest of his life, and I cannot let that go no matter what happens. Even if we loose services, we will not loose our voices, and plan on still using mine no matter what happens.

Monday, March 23, 2009

AZEIP Due Process Hearing

I'm still waiting for my hearing to be scheduled. I did receive a call from AZEIP wanting to know if I still wanted to go through with the hearing since my son's services are continuing because of the injunction. I asked if DES/DDD changed their mind about whether or not to cut his services, the answer was no, they were just calling everyone to verify that they still wanted to continue with the hearing, even if services were in place, be careful and keep in mind that they ONLY reason services are in place now is because DES/DDD is being FORCED to do so by a court order, without that order, we wouldn't have anything. I did say I wanted to continue with the hearing, I would advise everybody to do the same.

Has anyone had their hearings scheduled or had a hearing yet?

I never received the letter that they were supposed to send out per the order that indicates services are being restored because of the injunction, has anyone else?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Due Process Template Letter

Copy to word, edit it with your info, and then save and print it. I strongly encourage everyone to do this, and I also encourage all providers to help your families to fill out and send in this form. All letters must be sent to Molly Bright in order to be processed.

_______________, 2009

Molly Bright
Part C Coordinator
DES/AzEIPArizona Early Intervention Program
Department of Economic Security
3839 N. 3rd Street Suite 304
Phoenix AZ 85012

Dear Ms. Bright: My child, _______________ whose date of birth is___________, is a child with a disability who has had an IFSP since _______________ through AzEIP only, DDD state only, DDD ALTCS, or ASDB (circle one). I am writing to request a due process hearing under 34 CFR 303.429 and 34 CFR 303.420, it is my understanding that a hearing officer should be appointed and the matter should be heard and decided within 30 days, during that time my child must continue to receive the appropriate early intervention service(s) being provided under the last agreed upon Individual Family Service Plan, as noted in AzEIP’s procedures, during the pendency of the due process proceeding. DES/AzEIP has violated IDEA Part C by failing to provide appropriate services for my child with a disability by proposing to eliminate or reducing the following services included on my child’s IFSP __________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. Furthermore, I was not afforded the opportunity to participate in a meeting to discuss the proposed elimination or reduction of services and did not receive a prior written notice (PWN) or procedural safeguards. 34 CFR 303.403(a). The remedies that I seek include: the continuation of services during the pendency of the due process complaint, compensatory services or funding for any services missed or not provided, and immediate approval for reinstatement of the eliminated/reduced services. Further, I request the opportunity to review my child’s record pursuant to FERPA.



Friday, March 20, 2009


Okay, in talking with a lot of different people, I've found out that only about 100-200 due process hearings have been filed out of the approximate 4,000 of those who lost services. There have been remarks that most of us must not care too much if we don't file for one, this number is very low to me, my theory is that a lot of people have been filing for the "Administrative Review" in their letters instead of the due process hearings. I have confirmed with various sources that these are DEFINITELY NOT THE SAME THING! Not even close. Many agencies are asking people to not file for an "Administrative Review" even if you have, you need contact AZEIP to make sure you receive, fair, legal, mandated due process. This is the only way for you to assert your rights and the rights of your families, this is something that we all can do.

I know services have stayed in place but this is only due to a TEMPORARY INJUNCTION from the court, it is not permanent by any means, our services are not safe. We still need to keep going and if we wait, it might be too late. PLEASE FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE HEARING EVEN IF YOUR SERVICES HAVE BEEN RESTORED.

I know this has been an emotionally exhausting time, and I know that we dread what would go on in a hearing and fear the outcome would not be positive. For a lot of us including myself, this has been traumatic to say the least, I know we have been feeling devastated, hopeless and helpless, very reminiscent of when our children received a diagnosis, or when we found out we would not have the "normal" lives we had come to expect. Even though it feels the same THIS IS NOT THE SAME. We can and should try to DO something about it, there is HOPE. Don't give up! We have faced things other people could not begin to comprehend, we have survived, and thrived, and we are much stronger and tougher than we are given credit for, or that we even give ourselves credit for. WE CAN FIGHT THIS!!!!! I am going to fight this for as long as it takes, I will not give up, period. I will do whatever I can to support anyone who wants to fight too.

PLEASE PLEASE Contact AZEIP. I believe the yahoo group on my sidebar has template posted already for what should be said, copy and paste it to a word document, fill in the blanks, print it and then snail mail it via us post office. If you need a hard copy because you don't have a printer, let me know and I will put you in touch with someone that can mail you a hard copy (just post something, it sends me a message, I moderate all comments, so if you don't want the message posted publicly just let me know)

I know the hearing sounds intimidating, but keep in mind these were structured with the thought in mind that parents are not attorneys, they are meant to be accessible and unintimidating. I had some transportation and childcare concerns, I have been told by AZEIP that the hearing can be conducted by telephone as well, you don't need to travel to a courthouse if you don't want to. I will post the form below and in a separate post

_______________, 2009
Molly Bright Part C Coordinator DES/AzEIP
Arizona Early Intervention Program
Department of Economic Security
3839 N. 3rd Street Suite 304
Phoenix AZ 85012

Dear Ms. Bright: My child, _______________ whose date of birth is___________, is a child with a disability who has had an IFSP since _______________ through AzEIP¡¾only, DDD¡¾state¡¾only, DDD¡¾ALTCS, or ASDB (circle one). I am writing to request a due process hearing under 34 CFR 303.429 and 34 CFR 303.420, it is my understanding that a hearing officer should be appointed and the matter should be heard and decided within 30 days, during that time my child must continue to receive the appropriate early intervention service(s) being provided under the last agreed upon Individual Family Service Plan, as noted in AzEIP’s procedures, during the pendency of the due process proceeding. DES/AzEIP has violated IDEA Part C by failing to provide appropriate services for my child with a disability by proposing to eliminate or reducing the following services included on my child’s IFSP __________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. Furthermore, I was not afforded the opportunity to participate in a meeting to discuss the proposed elimination or reduction of services and did not receive a prior written notice (PWN) or procedural safeguards. 34 CFR 303.403(a). The remedies that I seek include: the continuation of services during the pendency of the due process complaint, compensatory services or funding for any services missed or not provided, and immediate approval for reinstatement of the eliminated/reduced services. Further, I request the opportunity to review my child’s record pursuant to FERPA.