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.
For more information, please visit http://hhs.gov/acl
Obama administration officials and disability advocates say the bureaucratic change could pay big dividends long-term for people with special needs by pushing disability issues up the food chain at the cabinet-level agency. Specifically, they say, a big plus is that the new head of the community living administration will have a seat at the decision-making table as an assistant secretary directly reporting to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“It’s the beginning of a much stronger position for disability interests in the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who called the organizational shake-up a “game changer.”