#AdvocacyMatters: Leading the Discussion

April 12, 2024 / #AdvocacyMatters

Earlier this year, we began hosting sessions with members of the Ohio legislature and their staff members to better understand our organization and the work that we do. After an initial session covering our story, our leadership, and our goals, these events then pivoted to covering specific areas of our work in-depth.

At the end of March, we held the third of these sessions at the Ohio Statehouse. Hosted by members of our Civil Rights and Integration team, this session covered a broad range of topics... centering on the systemic barriers preventing Ohioans with disabilities from being equal and active members of their communities.

With several legislative staffers on-hand, discussions touched on youth with disabilities in foster care or at risk of foster placement, mental health services and other needs for incarcerated people with disabilities, and the pressing need to expand and improve the community mental health service system.

“People with disabilities are disproportionately represented in carceral settings, and a significant percentage of those individuals have symptoms of mental illness,” DRO Attorney Julie Keys shared with the group. “Despite the overwhelming need for mental health treatment, there is a severe lack of meaningful mental health services in Ohio’s jails and prisons.”

With additional events scheduled to cover Education & Employment, Social Security Programs, and more, these sessions represent another way to lead the discussion around advocacy throughout our halls of leadership and across our state. #AdvocacyMatters

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