At a Glance
The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) is a national grassroots, nonprofit membership organization consisting of over 260 members from Centers for Independent Living, their satellites and branch offices, Statewide Independent Living Councils, Youth Leadership Forums, and other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America. APRIL was founded in 1986 by twelve directors of rural CILs at a meeting in Houston, Texas. In 1994, APRIL attained its 501(C)(3) status and hired a national coordinator.
As a national membership organization, APRIL is dedicated to advancing the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities in rural America by serving as a center of resources and by leading systems change. We achieve this through our Training and Technical Assistance programs including: our National Conference and Youth Conference, Peer Mentoring programs, Information and Referral, IL Conversation teleconference series, Youth Talk teleconference and Facebook chat series, Growing Leadership and Succession Planning workgroup, Knowledge Translation advising, and Dissemination through our list serv and social media. We also achieve our mission with our advocacy and collaboration including: leadership opportunities for youth with disabilities, rural advocacy work groups and initiatives, and our partnerships and work plans with national Research and Training Centers, AgrAbility, and other allied national organizations.
The Road to Freedom
Starts Right Here!
Well we’ve circled our wagons
And rolled out our signs
Takin’ it to the streets
No more playin’ from behind
We’re preaching to the masses, everyone listen hear
The road to freedom
Starts right here
CILs deserve a 21st Century Investment
A National Project by the Association of Programs For Rural Independent Living
As Centers for Independent Living go about our daunting work seeking to change the world into a place where each of us can participate fully in all that it means to be a full, equal citizen, we often crash abruptly into the reality that the resources available to us do not align with our collective mission.
Whether we represent centers edging up to their 40th birthday, or centers that came of age in the era of ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), few of us have what we need to fulfill both our vision for an equitable world, to ensure the quality provision of services federal law demands of us.
For more than 20 years, there has been a consistent and coordinated—and periodically successful— national effort to convince policy makers to increase the level of funding, or public investment, which centers receive. Read More
Harkin Leads Bipartisan Effort to Update Workforce Development Bill, Improve Employment and Training Opportunities for People with Disabilities
May 21, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate’s HELP Committee, has led a bipartisan, bicameral effort to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, which will update workforce development systems in states, including Iowa, as well as dramatically improve employment training and opportunities for people with disabilities. Agreement on the legislation was announced today by a key group of Democratic and Republican legislators in the Senate and the House, including Harkin, and will now go before both houses of Congress for approval.
“Access to training, education, and employment services opens doors to the middle class for workers in Iowa and across the country and helps strengthen the economy. This bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act will help ensure that all workers—including those with disabilities—can access these opportunities, while providing for better coordination and value to our workforce development system,” said Harkin.
“This bill also makes groundbreaking changes that will raise prospects and expectations for Americans with disabilities, many of whom, under current law, are shunted to segregated, subminimum wage settings without ever receiving the opportunities and skills to succeed in competitive, integrated employment,” added Harkin, who was the Senate author of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. “It will stem the flow of young people into segregated employment by requiring that they be given experience in integrated settings, and require state Vocational Rehabilitation programs to work with individuals to develop an individual employment plan and support them in integrated work settings. This bill truly represents the spirit of bipartisan compromise and cooperation, and I applaud my colleagues on the HELP Committee and on the Education and Workforce Committee for their perseverance and commitment to updating this critical law. I urge senators on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.”
Federal Transit Administration Online Dialogue
FTA Section 5310 Grant Recipients
We want to hear your thoughts!
Please provide your feedback during the upcoming Federal Transit Administration Online Dialogue on Section 5310 Performance Measures
March 31 – April 18, 2014
Participate to discuss:
• What performance measures reflect the benefits of the Section 5310 program
• Top ways Section 5310 funding can be used to meet transportation needs
• The extent to which your agency will be able to collect data
• FTA is considering combining the reporting requirements of Section 5335(c) into a single requirement for recipients of
Section 5310. The method will utilize the National Transit Database (NTD) system for recipients of Section 5310, Section 5311, or Section 5307 to report on behalf of their subrecipients.
Share your thoughts on specific questions, post your own questions, vote on ideas, and see and react to topics on the table using and online platform that you can access anytime during the dialogue.
Who’s encouraged to participate?
Section 5310 grant recipients and sub-grantees, Section 5310 service providers, national non-profit and community organizations, state and local agency officials and staff, advocates, and anyone with an interest in transportation service for people with disabilities and older adults.
Why should you participate? Because your opinion matters!
• FTA will use the information to make decisions about future investment and policies related to Section 5310 providers.
• Performance measurement data can be used as an improvement tool within your own organization and in outreach and communication with key stakeholders.
Register and plan to participate March 31-April 18. FTA’s Section 5310 online dialogue is hosted by Easter Seals Project ACTION. ESPA staff will be available to answer questions you have regarding registration or accessing the dialogue.
Help APRIL set a 21st Century base funding for Centers
More than a decade and a half ago, a national effort was undertaken to establish a funding benchmark necessary to operate a center for independent living that was adequately carrying out the duties and responsibilities spelled out in Title VII.
This benchmark base funding, required to provide the four core services plus two others identified in the Rehabilitation ACT of 1973, is critical in our ongoing discussions with federal and state policy makers. It is difficult to argue for an increase in funding for general operations if we don’t have a rationale—or a bottom line—for engaging in the activities the law requires us to do.
It’s OUR Time: Influencing and Creating Change Today!
The poster at the left has a graphic of a watch with symbols for various disabilities (signing hands, wheelchair, person who is blind with a cane, puzzle icon for Autism, cane for someone with physical disability), as well as the words “change” and “advocacy” on the hands of the watch face.
Friday, October 25, 2013 ~ 9 am - 5 pm
Marriott Tulsa Southern Hills,
It’s time to make some change! This year’s Youth Conference will focus on making real change in communities across the nation.
- Learn how to use your voice and influence others
- Learn how to make an impact by being involved in the disability community
- Take away many tools to advocate in your own state
- Discover new allies in creating change step-by-step
- Get to know other youth with disabilities from across the nation!
To register, visit www.april-rural.org!
The APRIL logo is at the bottom.
Experts: $240M judgment for disabled men 'stunning'
May 1, 2013 Written by; Clark Kauffman, The Des Moines Register
In a decision that legal experts are calling "stunning," an Iowa jury this morning awarded $240 million to the 32 mentally disabled men who faced decades of discrimination and abuse while working for Henry's Turkey Service in Atalissa.
When jurors announced the judgment, after less than eight hours of deliberation, Sherri Brown, the sister of one of the 32 men, broke down in tears inside the Davenport courtroom.
"I totally lost it," she said later. "I wanted the jury to make a statement so that my brother Keith and all of those men would know that someone had heard them. And if this isn't a statement, I don't know what is."
The $240 million judgment reflects $2 million in punitive damages for each of the 32 men, plus $5.5 million in compensatory damages for each of the men.
Steven Schwartz, a disability rights attorney and former Harvard professor, said today's judgment will be heard across the nation.
"It's stunning," he said. "It's amazing. I'm almost incredulous. I think this verdict sends an incredibly powerful message to jurors all over the country. And of course it sends an equally powerful message to the people who cause this sort of harm. This is also an extraordinary testament to the EEOC and its attorneys, Robert Canino in particular, that they are willing to stand up for people with mental disabilities. They represent the best our government can be."
Have you ever considered becoming a coordinator of universal and accessible home design projects?
Universal and accessible home design is the new "green" in the building/remodeling industry and with thousands of baby boomers on the horizon, they are going to want to stay in their homes as long as possible. But universal and accessible home design isn't just for the baby boomers. Folks with any sort of disability, as well as the able-bodied, can also benefit from these concepts and principals and they are all potential clients. Not sure where to start...not sure if it is right for you or your company...we are here to help!
DISABILITY ACTIVISTS SCORE MAJOR VICTORIES IN DAY OF ACTION
ADAPT Hails Renewed Talks with Labor Groups Over Work Rule Affecting the Independence of People with Disabilities; Secures Commitment from HUD to Release Key Guidance to Housing Authorities
Washington, DC - Following a long day of direct action, grassroots disability rights group ADAPT celebrates two major victories. First, a new agreement to seek a compromise that considers the freedom of people with disabilities to direct their own attendant services and the need of organized labor to seek the best possible conditions for those workers was reached with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Fiscal Year 2014 Electronic Appropriations Request Form Office of Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Appropriations process has officially begun. To ensure that Congresswoman Duckworth’s office has sufficient time to review and submit requests to the Appropriations Committee, we have set an internal deadline of 12:00 PM on Friday, April 5 2013 for requests to be submitted to our office.
Champions of Change Program
The White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country who are “Building an America to Last” with projects and initiatives that move their communities forward. All across the country, ordinary Americans are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. Each week, The White House invites Champions of Change share their ideas and to empower and inspire other members of their communities. This year’s Transportation Champions of Change will focus on “Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century. The deadline for submitting nominations is Thursday, March 28, 2013: Click Here for Nomination Process
On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host a Champions of Change event on “Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century.” This Champions of Change event will focus on individuals or organizations that have provided exemplary leadership in implementing transportation technology solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety, and facilitate communication across the transportation industry at the local, state or regional level.
Independent Living on Tulsa Time
Save the Date!
The 2013 APRIL conference will be October
26th, 27th and half day on the 28th in
The 2013 APRIL Youth conference will be October 25th.
Mark your calendars!
146 National Groups Outline Priorities on Budget
Orgs Call for Job Creation, Saving the Safety Net, Stopping Sequestration, and Adding New Revenue from Corporations and Wealthiest Earners
Washington, D.C. –– As our nation approaches the so-called “fiscal cliff,” 146 national organizations are calling on President Obama and Congress to work together to prioritize job creation, oppose benefit cuts to social insurance programs, protect the safety net and require corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share.
In a letter sent Friday to President Obama and congressional leaders of both chambers, the organizations representing working people, people of color, low-income communities, women, people with disabilities, faith communities, and good government advocates set out five urgent priorities that should be part of any budget agreement.
- The letter outlining these concerns and a full list of signatories are below this statement.
- The groups have also highlighted their priorities in a full-page ad Thursday in The Washington Post.
The joint letter states:
As you work to craft a resolution to these economic and fiscal challenges, we urge you to embrace the call of the American people to focus on job creation and avoid any actions that would cost jobs, oppose benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, protect our nation’s safety net, and oppose any extension of the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans.
The Affordable Care Act establishes Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges) to provide individuals and small business employees with access to health insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014. An Exchange is an entity that both facilitates the purchase of Qualified Health Plans (QHP) by qualified individuals and provides for the establishment of a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), consistent with Affordable Care Act 1311(b) and 45 CFR 155.20. Exchanges will provide competitive marketplaces for individuals and small employers to directly compare and purchase private health insurance options based on price, quality, and other factors. Exchanges are integral to the Affordable Care Act’s goal of prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions and insuring all Americans. Read More
Massachusetts and CMS Sign Off on First Memorandum of Understanding for Dual Eligible Integration Demonstration
As announced on Thursday, August 22, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Massachusetts have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two for a demonstration to integrate care for dual eligibles. With the release of the MOU, Massachusetts is the first state to receive approval from the federal government to begin implementing a new system of integrated care for dual eligibles. Read More
We believe that the needs of the disability community must be integrated into implementation of healthcare legislation. Changes must be made to end the needless institutionalization of people, especially those living in rural communities, when the provision of appropriate services and supports can prevent such actions. Read More
IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall use funds made available under subsection (b) to provide funds for applications that are pending on the date of enactment of this Act in accordance with the terms and conditions of section 6029 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–246; 122 Stat. 1955). Read More
Rural policy is driven in large part by the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, however, covers much more than agriculture. Disability issues have generally had little consideration in the bill, with the exception of some attention to housing and technology (e.g. AgrAbility). It is time to change that, and infuse disability into relevant parts of this important rural legislation. Read More
Preamble to APRIL’s National Advocacy Strategy
APRIL is a national membership organization dedicated to advancing the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities in rural America.
APRIL is committed to an aggressive and culturally-appropriate advocacy strategy tied to our Vision statement: “APRIL is the unified voice of independent living in rural America.” In furtherance of that Vision, APRIL has engaged hundreds of members and dedicated many hours aimed at developing a mission-focused systems change agenda to further the civil rights of all people with disabilities regardless of age, disability, income, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or nationality.
Equally as important to us, is ensuring that young people with disabilities are integrated into all facets of program development and delivery. We are truly committed to the mantra: Nothing About Us, Without Us.
APRIL Advocacy Priorities 2017
Stand Alone Issues
•Implementation of the reauthorized Rehab Act (WIOA)
Advocacy Policy Priorities
•Complete Community Care (C3):
Integrated Health Services:
- Continue implementation of Affordable Care Act/funding affecting rural people with disabilities, and inclusion as a population experiencing “health disparities.”
- Putting the “D” in ADRCs, as the potential portal of entry, and building effective collaborations
- Stop implementation of harmful policies like competitive biding for durable medical equipment, supplies, prosthetics, and supplies (DMEPOS)
Eliminate the institutional bias once and for all; revise Medicaid rules to mandate a national buy-in program and allow greater flexibility for states to widen eligibility and raise asset limits and asset exemptions.
Participate in rule-making and implementation of the 2015 full multi-year reauthorization of the federal Highway bill (FAST Act) to increase funding/flexibility for rural transit systems in line with APRILs Policy Paper and feedback during conference sessions; and impacting access to and availability of transportation options for rural veterans.
Explore with APRIL members the roles centers can play in impacting the lives of veterans in our communities and educate members through the joint APRIL/NCIL Veterans subcommittee.
The issues below previously identified by members as important systems change initiatives will be addressed through task forces, and cooperative efforts with other national partners and stakeholders.
Fight to eliminate the “special” or sub-minimum wage in federal law; and work to revise the Social Security Act to permanently eliminate work disincentives and “cash cliff” for those employed.
• Mental Health:
Implement, develop and support the delivery of rural consumer-controlled, recovery, peer models.
• Violence and abuse against PWD:
Increase access and services for women with disabilities.
- Processes and Guidance for APRIL Advocacy Subcommittees
- Stand alone and emerging issues will remain the primary responsibility of the full Advocacy Committee.
- Read More
Disability Rights Advocates Call for Transportation Equity
March 1, 2012 - by Sandy Thomas
At a recent briefing on Capitol Hill, civil rights, human rights, and disability rights advocates discussed how federal transportation policies can be improved to meet the needs of one of the nation’s most transit-dependent communities: people with disabilities.
Co-hosted by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the February 23 briefing coincided with ongoing negotiations around the current surface transportation bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Many transportation equity advocates have opposed the most recent House version of the bill, saying it would severely limit access to affordable and accessible public transportation and safe roadways for the most transit-dependent communities, including people with disabilities.