2013-05 Regarding the creation of a statewide Support Service Providers Program for deaf-blind people

Resolution 2013-05
Regarding the creation of a statewide Support Service Providers Program for deaf-blind people

WHEREAS, Deaf-blind people rely on Support Service Providers (SSPs) to facilitate communications, and to provide environmental and situational information so that they can participate in all aspects of community life, thereby reducing reliance on family members and friends for these tasks; and

WHEREAS, the SSPs are not responsible for providing personal care or serving as interpreters as required by law at legal and medical appointments, i.e., SSPs must serve only as facilitators, not decision makers; and

WHEREAS, Maryland currently has a few regional programs that supply SSPs to deaf-blind residents who live in certain designated localities, leaving many deaf-blind individuals with no assistance; and

WHEREAS, these regional programs vary in the quality and extent of services available; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of the Maryland Department of Disabilities is to coordinate services and to advance the rights and interests of people with disabilities so they may fully participate in their communities; and

WHEREAS, the Maryland Department of Disabilities is the right agency in Maryland state government to create a statewide Support Service Providers Program; and

WHEREAS, service programs are most successful when the consumers who use the service play an integral part in the planning and development of the program: NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, in Convention assembled this tenth day of November, 2013, in the city of Ocean City, Maryland, that this organization strongly urge the Maryland State Department of Disabilities to create a plan with input from stakeholders that leads to the enactment of a statewide Support Service Providers Program so that all deaf-blind Maryland citizens may fully participate in all aspects of community life; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly encourage the Maryland Department of Disabilities to immediately begin planning for this program so that it can be included in the Governor’s 2016 budget.