RI Advocates in Action To Hold Statewide Conference Oct. 27; Registration Extended

By Gina Macris

Rhode Islanders with intellectual or developmental challenges who have questions about the services they receive will get a chance to speak with state officials during the annual conference of Advocates in Action Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. 

The question-and-answer session is one of many workshops and presentations during the day-long conference, which is aimed at empowering individuals with developmental disabilities to speak up for themselves. 

Entitled “Nothing About Us Without Us,” the conference will include workshops on topics such as competitive employment, community integration, voting, tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities, and dating. 

At a town hall-style forum in the afternoon, Mary Madden, the state’sConsent Decree Coordinator, will take questions from the audience. 

Madden, a representative of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, oversees implementation of a federal consent decree that requires the state to shift from sheltered workshops and segregated day programs to supports for community-based jobs and other activities. 

An official of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals is expected to join Madden, but the name of the official had not been confirmed Friday, according to a departmental spokeswoman.   

The conference will wind up with a masquerade dinner-dance. 

Conference registration has been extended through Monday, Oct. 24, for participants, including support staff and family members, according to Deb Kney, state director of Advocates in Action.  Updated instructions for registration are on the Advocates in Action website here.