Dear Parent/Caregiver, 

Children with special health care needs and people of all ages with autism spectrum disorders are at-risk for severe outcomes during disasters. The Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication at the Drexel University is working with partners to study the disaster communication needs of these two understudied populations. The results of this study will be used to develop tools that can be used for communicating with at-risk communities during emergencies and disasters. 

We are asking families and caregivers of children and youth with special health care needs, health care providers, and other health professionals to complete an online survey providing information about themselves and their preparedness and communication needs. The survey should take 15 minutes to complete and you will find a link to the survey below. If you have received more than one request to complete this survey, we ask that you complete it only once. 

Participation in this research study is voluntary. You may refuse to take part in the research or exit the survey at any time without penalty. You are free to skip any particular question you do not wish to answer for any reason. 

Any personal information you provide will only be shown to people who have a need to review this information. No names or identifying information would be included in any publications or presentations based on these data, and your responses to this survey will remain private. 

If you have questions, concerns, or complaints, talk to the research team: 

Dr. Esther Chernak, MD, MPH​​​Dr. Renee Turchi, MD, MPH 
Dornsife School of Public Health​​​Dornsife School of Public Health 
Drexel University​​​​​Drexel University 
3215 Market Street​​​​​3215 Market Street​​​ 
Philadelphia, PA 19104​​​​Philadelphia, PA 19104 
Phone: 267-359-6038​​​​​Phone: 267-359-6051 

ELECTRONIC CONSENT: You may print a copy of this consent form for your records. Clicking on the survey link below indicates that: 

•​You have read the above information 
•​You voluntarily agree to participate 
•​You are 18 years of age or older 
Thank you for your participation!

Survey for Families' of Children with Special Health Care Needs





A Victim Services Needs Assessment is being conducted by the Office of Victim Services at PCCD. This assessment will be used to identify needs among victims/survivors of crime, as well as gaps in access to core victim services, statewide. The data obtained will provide information on the availability of services and how we can better reach unserved and underserved victim populations. The objective is to make informed decisions about funding and to strategically direct resources to:

  •  Stabilize current programs,
  • Increase support for unmet needs, and
  • Increase support for the underserved populations
  • Fund new services and /or programs that are currently not available or do not meet the needs of the community in a specific geographic area

 The Victim Services Needs Assessment is being conducted statewide over a six-week period from January 15 – February 28, 2018. During this period, we will gather data from a wide variety of perspectives related to victimization and the need for services. These include existing victim service providers as well as community stakeholders who provide a variety of other services in our communities and, in doing so, come in contact with victims of crime.

 As an important community stakeholder, your perspective regarding the needs of crime victims, particularly those who are unserved and underserved, is vital. Your input can change the lives of individuals who have already suffered substantial loss. Our interest is to return them to their pre-victimization state as much as possible and we need your help to do that.

 Based on your important role in your community, there are three things we need from you:

  •  Share the questionnaire link with others in your organization whose input and perspective you feel is important and relevant. You will have the opportunity to “share” the questionnaire once you have completed it yourself. You may also share the questionnaire link by copying the link provided at the end of this email or by referring individuals to our website at
  • Email members of your organization through existing distribution lists or “listservs” and encourage them to complete the Stakeholder/Service Provider questionnaire as well. The credibility that you have within this broader network can assure your membership that this initiative is not only legitimate but also important. A draft “Proposed Message for Stakeholders to use” is provided. Please feel free to edit for your needs and then “copy” and “paste” in your outgoing email.
  • Help promote this needs assessment to victims of crime by posting and distributing the attached Victims Flier freely throughout your community. This includes posting within your organization’s facilities and on your organization’s social media sites as well as a wide variety of places where individuals go for services (Emergency rooms & urgent-care facilities, laundromats, beauty salons/barber shops, supermarkets, bars and social clubs, public restrooms, libraries, post office, etc.) The flier explains the purpose of the needs assessment, and provides a QR code for smart phone accessibility, allowing easy access victims/survivors of crime. Alternate formats of the questionnaire (language, paper) are also available as needed for individuals with limited English proficiency or without digital access. You may also share the Victims’ of Crime questionnaire link by copying the link provided at the end of this email or by referring individuals to our website at

 Upon completion of the questions, all respondents will be directed to the “PA Crime Victims” website for more information and current services available. In addition, the results derived from this assessment will be published on the Pa Crime Victims website and a report based on the statistical analysis will also be published.

Victims Questionnaire Link:  

Stakeholder/Service Provider Questionnaire Link:



Social Security Administration Seeks Input on Improving Adult Economic Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities Receiving SSI

The Social Security Administration released a Request for Information (RFI) to elicit ideas, strategies, and best practices related to improving adult economic outcomes for youth aged 14 to 25 with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Comments are due by February 2, 2018.

Youth receiving SSI confront challenges due to poor health, poverty, a lack of information to access the fragmented adult service system, and other barriers. Many youth face a lack of coordinated services, especially as they leave high school and their schools no longer provide youth support. SSA's redetermination of SSI eligibility at age 18 also generally results in 30-40 percent of youth losing SSI eligibility (and the accompanying automatic Medicaid access that most SSI recipients receive) because their condition does not meet the adult standard for disability.

The RFI includes 12 questions for respondents to consider when providing comments. The input SSA receives will inform its deliberations about potential policy changes and the design of future demonstration projects for transition-age SSI recipients. 

The full RFI can be viewed and comments can be made directly through websiteA Federal Register notice is also available.  


Consumer and Family Discussion - 2018 Block Grant Site Visit

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is seeking individuals and family members of individuals who have received mental health and/or behavioral health services to participate in a Consumer and Family Discussion with a representative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) as a part of the 2018 Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Site Visit. 

The Consumer and Family Discussion will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 10AM-12:30PM. 

Participants may attend in person at the OMHSAS Office in Commonwealth Tower, Strawberry Square (320 Market Street, Harrisburg) or via conference call.  SAMHSA requested that the individuals/family members in the Consumer and Family Group Discussion NOT be Planning Council Members.  However, OMHSAS welcomes referrals from Planning Council Members.    

A separate meeting is scheduled for the Mental Health Planning Council (MHPC) to provide feedback as a part of this site visit.  Planning Council members will receive a separate email from their MHPC committee co-chairs regarding the MHPC feedback session.

SAMHSA also requested that individuals/family members participating in this discussion represent a broad demographic. 

In order to ensure this, OMHSAS is including a demographic survey as a part of the request to participate form.  

Request to Participate Forms must be returned to Jill Stemple at no later than 5PM on Friday, February 15, 2018.  If you have any questions, please contact Jill Stemple at 717-409-3790 or

Click here for the form.


Nomination Needed

Nomination Form for Outstanding Permanency Services to Children and Families in the Pennsylvania Child Welfare System.

Click here for form.