8. Stay informed! Ask the Experts:
Marty Skinner, LMSW-ACP, ACSW
Program Director - MR Community Outreach (was MHMR of Tarrant County- Essential Services)
1300 Circle Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76119
Phone: (817) 569-4016
Fax: (817) 569-5474
E-mail: Martha Skinner
Kathryn Craven, P.C.
Attorney and Counselor at Law. Very strong advocate for those with disabilities. Very knowledgable about those with disabilities, the services and resources avaiable as well as well versed with Special Needs Trust and Wills to protect the benefits for those elegible for SSI, SSDI and Social Security.
1518 8th Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Phone: (817) 923-5557
Fax: (817) 922-9234
Lifepath Systems/Mental Retardation Services Collin County
Mary Fredericks, M.S.
PO Box 828
McKinney, TX 75070
Phone: 972-727-9133 Allen, TX
E-mail: Mary Fredericks
Crisis Line: 866-260-8000
Planning the Future:
0 Planning Handbook for Persons with Disabilities
To add an individual with disabilities to the CLASS list so they may eventually receive HCS (Home and Community-based Services) funding.
Telephone: (877) 438-5658
How to qualify for a disability:
How to apply for a disability:
Public/Government Agencies and Resources:
HHSC - Texas Health and Human Services Commission
HHSC is comprised of several agencies, mostly legacy Texas Department of Human Services, Eligibility/TANF/Food Stamps/Medicaid.
D.A.D.S. - Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (was TDMHMR)
D.A.D.S. is comprised of legacy TDMHMR, MR Services; Texas Department of Aging; Texas Department of Human Services - Long Term Care Services.
Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (was TDMHMR)
State of Texas agency, part of Texas Health and Human Resources Commission
I am Martha Kate Downey. My family and I live in Euless, Texas. We have a daughter who is 22 and has autism. She is active in her community and needs community-based services, those funds which follow the individual. If the Medicaid Waiver waiting list continues to be under-funded as it is today she has at least a decade before she may receive those funds and live independently. Not an easy pill to swallow for Kate and her friends who have worked to gain the skills to live as independently as possible.
Services for ALL:
I once met a family whose last name was Smith. They were a dysfunctional family. Another family I met was named Jones, they were a happy and healthy one: Therefore, all families with the last name of Smith are dysfunctional, and all families with the last name of Jones are healthy and happy ones. Is that a reasonable deduction? How can we, then, make the same illogical generalizations about all housing or all services being either good ones or bad ones for those individuals needing care.
You have heard stories of those who had negative experiences in group homes, other stories of those who had negative experience in state schools. We hear on television and read in our newspapers horror stories of the care withheld from those with disabilities in their own family's homes. A place of residence is only as safe, as good, as positive as the caregivers in the residence at that exact moment. These arguments regarding who can provide the best care have kept us distracted from the actual problem: Proper funding for all those having exceptional needs, including those who are aging, need accessible guardians, in need of foster care, or protection.
There is a need for state schools and other facilities like them and there is also a need for community-based services. In addition to caring for individuals with very limited cognitive capacity, state schools currently care for those having cognitive delays who need long term medical care, or those having significant behavioral disorders in need of long-term placements with very close supervision. Many of these individuals with mental retardation needing long-term care are placed in state schools after leaving a state hospital or are sent by the courts if they are deemed to be of danger to themselves or others.
There will always be a need for facilities which care for individuals with those significant needs. Most of the current community-based services are not yet able to care for those individuals due to insufficient funding which determines appropriate facilities and staff. According to a study prepared for Advocacy, Inc. in August, 2004 Texas ranked 51st among the states in the rate at which it furnished community-based waiver services. And in 2003, Texas ranked 47th among the states in the rate at which it furnished Medicaid long term services (the combination of HCBS waiver and ICF/MR services). We're heading into an even greater crisis, if that is possible, as this population ages.
The special needs population is living longer than ever before and developing additional health care needs. "Regular" assisted living centers will not have the knowledge to care for a person with cognitive delays as well as aging disorders. Some of those who are choosing to live in community-based housing today may one day need the more specialized care that residential programs may provide. Their needs will change just as surely as everyone's needs change through their life time.
In the past, we have fought over the sparse funds set aside for those having disabilities. We thought the only way we could get the funds needed for our programs was to take them from someone else's program. It is time we acknowledge that ALL of our programs need adequate funding. We can't rob Peter to pay Paul... Peter's broke! We need proper funding for all of the programs.
It has been long-time tradition of which the legislators of Texas are quite proud that they require the least amount of taxes in the United States. It doesn't seem to matter to them, that in so doing, they are therefore providing the least amount of services to those in need. The legislators are not properly reflecting Texans' values of generosity and responsibility for fellow citizens in need. During the recent world crisis, the citizens of Texas freely gave enormous amounts of money to Tsunami victims (without benefits of either tax receipts or even thank you notes!) It is quite apparent that Texans greatly value human life and their compassion is greater than their greed.
There is no longer time to battle about which programs will receive funding. It is now time to work together to insure that all of those needing services will have the opportunity to receive them. We are calling for the funding of all programs provided by DADS and other HHSC in the state of Texas which serve those who have disabilities or are elderly.
In the past, those services receive from the AAA have been adequate and well accessed. It is imperative that we do not move funding from programs working well to other less funded programs. Then there will simply be one more group of Texas citizens in need of better services.
This may seem like a tall order to some legislators, but if most other states provide sufficient services for their citizens, I would think Texans could arrive at a solution to the dilemma as well. If we can't do it well, can't we at least be average!?
Martha Kate Downey
February 9, 2005
In order that change take place, it is important that the legislators see a united mission. The mission of this coalition is to unite all those individuals and organizations which provide support to those having disabilities. Each organization which participates in the coalition will have it's own particular stand on issues and population it is servicing - that is important to maintain, but we all share in the common goal of working to ensure proper funding for services. By joining together, we share
knowledge and strength in numbers as we work to
effect critically needed change. Please join our association in our call for critically need funding of the programs and services already
in approved by our legislators. Those programs by the Department of Aging and Disability Services, as well as those which help
individuals in other HHS systems which service those with disabilities must receive sufficient financial support to be viable services to the eligible recipients. A program or service without appropriate funding is not a program at all, just a pipe dream. It is time to do more than dream.
Join Steps to Support for All:
I would like to join or learn more about Steps to Support for All
I would like add information to this site
For further resources for those with special challenges, click on the "Resources and Links" button on the left of this page.
Copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved
If you have information you like to have added to this site, or questions regarding this program, please write to: Martha Kate Downey, 505 Anthony, Dr. Euless, TX 76039 or send an email to