Thursday, May 19, 2011

President Obama Appoints The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

WASHINGTON – This week, President Barack Obama announced his appointments to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which included The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns. This expert group will provide advice and assistance to President Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.

“I’m honored to be a part of this panel advising the Obama Administration on matters critical to the inclusion of people with I/DD in their communities. We are facing enormous challenges right now, with federal and state budget crises threatening the services that support people with I/DD to thrive in society,” said Berns.

The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities is rich with history, dating back to October 1961, when President John F. Kennedy appointed the first panel of this kind to provide the nation with direction for progress in the field of I/DD. This was a turning point for the I/DD community, as President Kennedy shined a spotlight on the deplorable living conditions in institutions and limited opportunities for people with I/DD across the country. The panel produced a report with more than 100 recommendations for research into the causes and prevention of I/DD and for expanding opportunities for education, employment and community living and participation. President Kennedy pushed and signed into law major pieces of legislation that established the foundation for current civil rights protections and programs and services for people with I/DD. 2 

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