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2018 Public Policy Agenda

For more than 50 years, Colorado chapters of The Arc have advocated for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to live independently, exercise choice and control over their lives and contribute to their communities by being fully included in educational, economic, social, spiritual, and cultural endeavors.

Below is the 2018 public policy agenda for Colorado chapters of The Arc:

Funding and policy changes to strengthen the Colorado Medicaid State Plan, state programs, and HCBS Medicaid waivers for people with disabilities to include support for:

  • Changes in Colorado statute, where needed, to comply with the requirements established in federal law for Home and Community Based settings;
  • Therapeutic, out-of-home placement and intensive treatment options for children with I/DD and serious health, mental health, and behavioral conditions;
  • Reauthorization and expansion of the Children’s Mental Health Treatment Act to ensure that children with I/DD are fully included and that wait lists are eliminated;
  • Full implementation of Colorado’s Olmstead Plan including implementation of strategies for integrated competitive employment;
  • Additional resources to implement Employment First in Colorado;
  • Increased funding for respite and other services needed to maintain family stability;
  • Expansion of Cross-System Behavioral Health Crises Pilots;
  • Consistent standards for enrollment in HCBS/DD waiver for emergency cases;
  • Accelerated Medicaid waiver simplification to create a single HCBS waiver for all eligible adults with I/DD disabilities with access to services and supports when and where needed throughout their lifetimes;
  • Expansion of Inclusive Higher Education programs to Denver metro area and Western slope; and  encourage future and current programs to attract and support degree seeking students, and
  • Increased Supported Living Services waiver levels with rate increases.


Colorado students with disabilities have a legal right to free, appropriate educational opportunities in all public schools, including charter schools, with accompanying supports in the least restrictive environment.  Colorado must provide for:

  • Adequate funding for public schools for inclusive, student centered  programs for all students;
  • Alternatives to suspension and expulsion for young students;
  • Elimination of corporal punishment in public schools;
  • Special education services provided in the least restrictive setting by qualified teachers, staff and therapists for all eligible students including an appropriate continuum of services, para-professional support, and related supports including transportation;
  • Adequate medical, nursing, and behavioral support services (with appropriate staffing) for students with complex needs;
  • Meaningful transition services for students with disabilities that are person-centered and that prepare them for continuing education, work-based experiences resulting in competitive integrated employment, and successful community living; and
  • Maintenance of guaranteed access to public schools –including Charter schools for all students. 


Protection of civil rights for people with disabilities including:

  • Alternatives (such as supported decision making) to permanent, restrictive protective arrangements; guardianship policies should respect the rights of people with disabilities to manage their own affairs with informal assistance and guidance from family, friends, and others  If guardianship is essential, it should be used only to the extent necessary, with a presumption in favor of limited rather than full guardianship;
  • Policies for authorized representatives to ensure that the needs and choices of people with I/DD are respected and honored;
  • Examination and reform of requirements for Imposition of Legal Disability for persons at Regional Centers as well as those in community based service;
  • School discipline policies that provide behavioral supports for students with disabilities that minimize restraint and involvement of law enforcement;
  • Limited emergency interventions that address situations where a student’s unexpected behavior poses a clear and present danger of serious physical harm to him or herself and others and require that only staff currently trained and competent apply restraint, and time-out interventions; and
  • Fair treatment of juveniles with disabilities in the criminal justice system to avoid incarceration and implementation of restorative justice programs for all citizens.
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