The roots of ACHIEVA are in The Arc. ACHIEVA began and grew as The Arc of Allegheny County and 17 years ago our organization changed its name to ACHIEVA. While the name changed, our commitment to The Arc and the movement never wavered. Advocacy and family supports are in ACHIEVA's organizational DNA. The importance of being connected to The Arc in both Washington and Harrisburg cannot be overstated. It allows us to present a united front to policy makers on the broad themes important to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, their families and the dedicated staff who work so hard to provide high-quality supports. What are those broad themes?
- Preserve Medicaid home and community-based service waiver funding
- Support families
- Increase inclusive special education and early intervention programming
- Promote employment
- Prevent abuse and neglect
- Value our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs)
During our meetings in the offices of U.S. Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, and U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle, Conor Lamb, and Keith Rothfus, I was proud to be a representative of ACHIEVA, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh and The Arc of Pennsylvania. Our family volunteers were great during the meetings, telling their stories and emphasizing the importance of federal funds, laws and leadership. Advocacy with government officials is an important part of our mission. ACHIEVA's influence and the collective power of The Arc were clearly on display in DC this past week.