~ Grants awarded through the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities will improve services and expand resources ~
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced two federal grants that will improve services, supports and information availability for early intervention and education of children with disabilities. The grants are awarded through the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, Virginia’s Developmental Disabilities Council.
“Improving and expanding services for individuals and families with disabilities is imperative to ensuring that all Virginians have access to the tools they need to succeed,”said Governor McAuliffe. “Securing these federal grants is a big step forward for the private and public institutions in Virginia that work to provide care and assistance to those with disabilities, and I commend the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities for their hard work on this issue. We will continue to ensure all children, adults, and their families in Virginia have the resources they need to achieve their dreams and realize their full potential.”
The Virginia Hospital Research and Education Foundation will receive $125,000 for its Virginia Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Early Intervention Collaborative, a statewide program designed to increase access to early intervention services for infants who have spent time in a NICU and may be at risk of developmental delay.
“We know that the care a child receives in her earliest hours can have a lasting impact on her life,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “This collaborative project will help the families of our most vulnerable infants make sure those children get the support they need.”
The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) will also receive $150,000 for its project “Adult Curriculum on Critical Decision Making Points for Students with Disabilities.”
“Improved access to and knowledge of intervention services and educational resources are critical for our children with disabilities,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “The grant that the Department of Education will receive will help support their work to positively impact the lives of students with disabilities.”
The goal of DOE’s project is to improve post-school outcomes and increase opportunities for employment and higher education through the development and implementation of a training curriculum for students, families, schools, staff, and others.
“We are grateful to receive grant funding through the support of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities,” said Tracey A. van Marcke, Executive Director of the Virginia Hospital Research and Education Foundation. “By partnering with Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association members, VHHA’s Center for Healthcare Excellence will work with Virginia’s NICU leaders to spread patient- and family-centered best practices with the goal of enhancing links to crucial early intervention services for NICU patients and their families.”
“The Virginia Board for People with Disabilities is very excited to be funding both of these projects,” said Heidi Lawyer, the Board’s Executive Director. “We believe these grants will directly help families access needed services and supports and bring about statewide improvements in policy and practice. These projects also support the Governor’s broader initiatives in early childhood and education, which are expanding opportunities for all children.”
The VBPD serves as the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Both of these projects stemmed from recommendations that the Board made in its 2014 Assessment of the Disability Services System in Virginia, which identifies gaps and barriers in services and supports for individuals with disabilities of all ages.