By Guest Blogger Henry Claypool, Senior Advisor for Disability Policy to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary, and Principal Deputy Administrator of the Administration for Community Living
The Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities of any age have access to the supports and resources they need to live with respect and dignity as fully participating members of their communities.
Last week, HHS took a significant step forward on this commitment through the formal creation of the Administration for Community Living (ACL). This new agency brings together HHS’ Office on Disability, Administration on Developmental Disabilities and Administration on Aging into one coordinated, stronger entity charged with developing policies and improving supports for people with disabilities and seniors.
Under the new office, I will serve as Principal Deputy Administrator of the Administration for Community Living, while also retaining my duties as Senior Advisor on Disability Policy to the HHS Secretary. Kathy Greenlee, who continues to serve in the Senate confirmed position of Assistant Secretary for Aging, will also take on the role of Administrator of the Administration for Community Living.
Within the Administration for Community Living, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) will continue to implement programs under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, and the Administration on Aging (AoA) will continue to operate Older American Act programs.
We are excited about this realignment and look forward to enhancing our community living work in a stronger, more focused manner moving forward.
Below is Secretary Sebelius’ statement on her creation of the Administration for Community Living:
A Statement from Secretary Sebelius on the Administration for Community Living
All Americans – including people with disabilities and seniors – should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions – rather than in nursing homes or other institutions.
The Obama administration and my department have long been committed to promoting community living and finding new mechanisms to help ensure that the supports people with disabilities and seniors need to live in the community are accessible.
Today, with the creation of the new Administration for Community Living (ACL), we are reinforcing this commitment by bringing together key HHS organizations and offices dedicated to improving the lives of those with functional needs into one coordinated, focused and stronger entity.
The Administration for Community Living will bring together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that supports both cross-cutting initiatives and efforts focused on the unique needs of individual groups, such as children with developmental disabilities or seniors with dementia. This new agency will work on increasing access to community supports and achieving full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors.
The Administration on Community Living will seek to enhance and improve the broad range of supports that individuals may need to live with respect and dignity as full members of their communities. These support needs go well beyond health care and include the availability of appropriate housing, employment, education, meaningful relationships and social participation.
Building on President Obama’s Year of Community Living, the ACL will pursue improved opportunities for older Americans and people with disabilities to enjoy the fullest inclusion in the life of our nation.
Henry Claypool is the Senior Advisor for Disability Policy to the HHS Secretary, and Principal Deputy Administrator of the Administration for Community Living.