Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Have you heard of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus?

What is the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus?  What do they do?  What do they support?  Who supports them?  When I was reading an article about Alzheimer's and Down Syndrome, I came across this organization and decided to find out more.

In early May 2008, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) established the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, along with co-chairs Representative Pete Sessions (TX-32), former Representative Patrick Kennedy, andRepresentative Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) to educate members of Congress and their staff about Down syndrome.
To date, the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus has more than 40 members. Also, soon after Representative Patrick Kennedy retired, the Caucus welcomed a new co-chair, Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD-08). The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is deeply grateful to our past and present co-chairs and members for making such a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome, their families and communities.

Mission of the CDSC

The mission of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus is to educate members of Congress and their staff about Down syndrome. The Caucus will support legislative activities that would improve Down syndrome research, education and treatment and promote public policies that would enhance the quality of life for those with Down syndrome.
The Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus will:
  • Urge relevant authorizing committees to support Down syndrome programs and patient care through letters and testimony.
  • Hold informational events for Members and staff here in DC to increase awareness of the disorder among Members.
  • Ensure Down syndrome is adequately addressed in all relevant legislation and regulations.
  • Continue to build House Congressional Down syndrome Caucus into a sustainable, dynamic political force and informational clearinghouse by increasing membership and activities.
  • Work with National and Local Down syndrome groups to develop leading edge educational, medical and work related initiatives that support individuals with Down syndrome.
  • Identify and strike down barriers in the law for person’s with mental disabilities.
  • Expand opportunities for the Down syndrome population in education, the workplace and society at large.

Goals of the CDSC

The goals of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus are:
  • To raise expectations and improve outcomes in education.
  • To eliminate barriers to economic opportunity in employment and in programs that promotes savings and investment.
  • To promote and fund research that accelerates the development of effective treatments and therapies.
  • Promote the translation of Down syndrome research into effective new treatments through interdisciplinary cooperation among the various NIH institutes, the FDA, the CDC and privately funded scientists and clinicians.
  • To promote inclusiveness for people with Down syndrome.
  • To help provide family support services and a community of care model.
  • Advocate for the rights of those with Down syndrome and make sure those rights are being enforced.

Be gentle.

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