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University of Iowa News Release

Release: March 12, 2003

Law Center To Host Meeting On Serving People With Disabilities On Welfare

Disability and welfare experts from five states will discuss how their states respond to persons with disabilities who receive welfare in a March 12 meeting organized by the UI College of Law's Law, Health Policy & Disability Center.

The Washington, D.C. conference will bring together representatives of federal agencies, congressional staff, national organizations, faith-based groups and public policy think tanks from Iowa, Colorado, Vermont, Utah and North Carolina.

Peter Blanck, Kierscht Professor of Law at the UI College of Law and director of the LHPDC, sees the meeting as an opportunity to understand how states are effectively serving people with disabilities on welfare. He said the meeting will promote knowledge and inform policy about programs for helping people with disabilities on welfare successfully transition into employment.

Dr. Johnette Hartnett, director of public policy at the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, said the meeting is partly in response to the Bush Administration's New Freedom Initiative, which seeks to promote interagency collaboration.

"Many states are linking resources, formally and informally, across agencies to help people on welfare with disabilities gain self-sufficiency and independence," she said.

Michael Morris, associate director at the LHPDC and director of its Washington, D.C. office, notes that recent reform policies have significantly changed welfare.

"A focus on income maintenance has been replaced by emphasis on service delivery and employment expertise," he said. "Welfare reform has helped drop national caseloads by more than 50 percent, but many states now find that their remaining caseloads include individuals with multiple barriers to work."

Blanck notes that Iowa's representatives will discuss local innovations in helping disabled welfare recipients in the Sioux City area.

Based at the University of Iowa College of Law, with offices in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, the disability law center is a leader in public policy and its impact on persons with disabilities, with an emphasis on employment, self-determination and self-sufficiency. For more information on the center, see www.its.uiowa.edu/law.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu. Program: Dr. Johnette Hartnett, Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, University of Iowa, College of Law Washington, D.C. Office, (202) 218-7284, JHartnett@ncbdc.org