DODD Director Hauck Virtual Budget Presentation 02/10/23 1:30 PM

From Department of Developmental Disabilities “Pipeline”

State of the State & Budget Recap
Please join Director Hauck and DODD leadership on Zoom at 1:30 PM on February 10th for a virtual budget presentation.
ASL and C-Print captioning services will be provided.
Register here

State of the State
View the 2023 State of the State Address by Governor Mike DeWine here.

Governor DeWine’s State of the State Address and State Budget Proposal

Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine delivered the State of the State address and introduced a bold vision for Ohio’s future through his fiscal year 2024-2025 budget proposal.

Governor DeWine opened his address by saying “We meet at a time of great opportunity for Ohio and its citizens.” He continued “It is a budget that focuses on our people, on our families, and on our children, for they are Ohio’s greatest asset. It reflects our obligation to make sure every Ohioan has the tools to succeed, to get a good job, to live their dreams, whatever they may be.”

This budget represents the Governor’s vision for the next two years. The budget builds off previous commitments and prioritization in Ohio’s developmental disabilities system. In the next two years, the budget will invest a historic $701 million in support for Ohioans with developmental disabilities. Remarkably, this investment is almost double the Governor’s first budget, which was the largest increase in the history of the DD system. This increase is a strong signal of the Governor’s and Director Kim Hauck’s dedication to addressing the critical needs of the system and moving forward with initiatives to improve the lives of Ohioans with developmental disabilities, their families, and those who support them.

“I am thankful for Governor DeWine’s leadership and commitment to Ohioans with developmental disabilities that is so evident in this budget,” said Director Kim Hauck. She continued, “The budget reflects the voices of the DD community – the realities we heard through the workforce crisis taskforce, the stories I heard as I traveled to each county, and the collective advocacy and work we have done together.”

In his budget proposal, Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new state agency, the Ohio Department of Children and Youth. This new department will further elevate the work of supporting children and youth, promote the efficient and effective delivery of services, and ensure long-term stability for Ohio’s 2.5 million children and their families. Stakeholder input will be critical to this work, and a cross-agency team will work over the coming months to plan and implement a smooth transition for those we serve.

Budget investments for DODD focus on increasing wages for Direct Support Professionals and investing in innovative technology and support for youth with complex needs. Key highlights of Governor DeWine’s budget proposal include the following:

Investing in DSPs & Supporting Providers
The budget addresses the most pressing issue in our DD system: wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Ohio’s DD system has struggled to recruit, retain, and invest in this essential workforce. To meet this need, this budget invests an historic $579 million into provider rates for the primary purpose of increasing direct care wages to stabilize the workforce. This is the largest increase in the history of our system and adds to Governor DeWine’s first budget which invested $308 million into these rates. These historic funds are a path to right-sizing wages and ensure that we have an essential workforce for people with disabilities. Rates in the budget that are outlined below are intended to be used by providers to increase the wage and compensation of their direct care staff.

Home and Community-Based Services
DODD worked with other cabinet agencies to raise the rates of related services that are experiencing the worst of the workforce crisis. The goal of this work is to raise the wages for direct care workers for residential settings. Rates for these services in DODD home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers will increase by 16.5 percent. This increase will result in a $16 per hour average reimbursement for the rates that pay DSP wages. Additional priority rates are receiving a 10 percent rate increase.

HCBS Services Increasing by 16.5%

Homemaker/Personal Care (HPC); 
HPC - Daily Billing Unit;   
HPC - Participant-Directed;   
Shared Living;   
Remote Support; 
Behavioral, Medical, Complex Care, & Competency Add-On. 

HCBS Services Increasing by 10%

Adult Day Support; 
Vocational Habilitation; 
Group Employment Support;  
Individual Employment Support; 
Career Planning; 
Non-Medical Transportation; 
Transportation, & 
Self-Directed Transportation. 

*Money Management will be brought back in line with HPC.
*Home Delivered Meals will be increased to stay consistent with other agency rates.

The budget also includes one-time funds to support one-time investments for adult day service providers, families and people with disabilities, and the DSP workforce.

Intermediate Care Facilities
The budget maintains and fully funds the statutory reimbursement formula for ICFs. An additional increase equaling 6.5 percent of per day direct care costs will be added to each ICFs daily rate. The statutory formula and 6.5 percent direct care adjustment occur in both years of the biennium. This investment matches the goal of the HCBS waiver increase to result in higher wages for ICF DSPs. This budget also provides a 200 percent increase to the add-on rate for ICFs who support Ohioans who are dependent on ventilator care.

Increasing Advocacy and Accessibility
Ohioans with developmental disabilities and their families should have every opportunity to be a part of their community. People with disabilities across Ohio have led this effort and advocated for communities to be accepting and inclusive for those opportunities to exist. This budget furthers this shared goal by doing the following:

Budget language will require that at least one person eligible for services be appointed to each county board of developmental disabilities. Many counties in Ohio have already chosen to appoint people eligible for services to their boards and have seen good results because of the lived experiences and ideas they bring to the discussions and decisions of the board. DODD will support self-advocates, county boards, and local appointing authorities in this effort.

DODD will partner with state and local partners to increase the availability of universal changing tables in public places and businesses. This will increase the number of public places where people have a safe, clean place to have their personal needs attended to. 

DODD will continue to partner with the Ohio Department of Education and the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio for the Learning Aid Ohio initiative. This initiative provides supplemental learning opportunities for thousands of students with disabilities across Ohio to stay on track toward their academic goals.  

DODD will also invest significantly in Advocacy and Protective Services Inc (APSI) to lower caseloads and ensure there is no waiting list for guardianship services. This ensures timely decisions and planning for people who may need guardianship services to receive the support they need to access and be included in their communities. 

Investing in Technology Support
Technology allows for greater independence and quality of life for Ohioans with developmental disabilities. This budget continues Ohio’s work as a national leader in technology. The budget will establish regional technology support which will create close to home opportunities for people to experience and try technology as well as provide technical assistance for the county boards and providers.

The budget increases rates for remote support services and provides additional funds to help providers develop their own technology services. This will allow providers to better support people with disabilities and extend the impact of their DSPs. These investments are essential to giving more people across Ohio the opportunity to be supported by technology in the way in which it works best for them.

Investing in Youth with Complex Needs
Governor DeWine’s last budget established dedicated funding for DODD multi-system youth initiatives. This budget sees an increase in that funding and bolsters partnerships to support youth with complex needs in their family homes, through short-term stabilization as well as long-term residential settings. Funding will allow DODD to support families and prevent custody relinquishment by increasing the capacity of the Multi-Disciplinary Comprehensive Assessment Team (MCAT) while also making it an option for younger youth. DODD will continue the Keeping Families Together initiative, which funds county efforts to support multi-system youth and their families. Because of the growing need for long-term residential options, DODD is proposing a new ICF peer group that will provide additional funding for ICFs willing to provide intensive services for youth with complex behavioral health needs.

Thank you to the advocates who led the efforts that influenced this historic budget. DODD will provide additional details and updates throughout the budget process.

Please join Director Hauck and DODD leadership on February 10th for a virtual budget presentation. The presentation will be on Zoom. American Sign Language (ASL) and C-Print captioning services will be available. For additional accommodations, please email You can register for the presentation here.

01/17/23 7PM ET Individualized Education Programs IEPs – What You Need to Know

Learn about Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and how they can help families and caregivers support learning for students with disabilities.

Presented by Emily Durell, Staff Attorney, and Anna Bulkoski, Special Education Fellow from Disability Rights Ohio, this webinar will explain what an IEP is and how to request an evaluation. It will also cover strategies for effective advocacy and negotiation.

Time:  January 17, 2023, 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)


01/25/23 Noon-2PM Ohio Statehouse Atrium Legislative Reception – Ohio Olmstead Task Force

The Ohio Olmstead Task Force (OOTF) is hosting a legislative reception on January 25, 2023 from 12-2 p.m. in the Atrium at the Ohio Statehouse. This event isn’t centered on specific advocacy actions. It is a casual gathering to build relationships between the disability advocacy community and policymakers.

Light snacks will be served.

You will have the chance to talk casually with Ohio Statehouse legislative staff, Representatives, and Senators. The point of this event isn’t to advocate on a specific issue, but rather for your legislators and staff to get to know you.

You do not need to be an OOTF member to attend.

Register here:

If you have any questions, you may email

01/26/23 Noon-3PM EST National Council on Disability Roundtable: Strengthening the Home- and Community-based Ecosystem

NCD Roundtable: Strengthening the Home- and Community-based Ecosystem

National Council on Disability Roundtable Discussion on the direct care workforce and affordable, accessible housing.

By National Council on Disability

Thu, January 26, 2023, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST — Online Mobile eTicket


Join the National Council on Disability January 26, 12-3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) for a virtual, two-part policy roundtable on strengthening the home- and community-based ecosystem, with focus on the direct care workforce and affordable, accessible housing.

NCD is hosting this roundtable to provide a briefing of the major findings and recommendations from the agency’s recent Strengthening the HCBS Ecosystem: Responding to Dangers of Congregate Settings during COVID-19 report and to share its vision for a “community living bias” in place of an institutional bias. The roundtable will be hosted virtually and includes invited perspectives from consumers, advocates, litigators, and senators of state and federal government.

Roundtable Agenda:

  • Opening Remarks
  • NCD Report Overview
  • Panel 1: The Direct Care Workforce Shortage (beginning approx. 12:20 p.m.)
  • Panel 2: The Accessible, Affordable Housing Shortage (beginning approx. 1:30 p.m.)
  • Closing Remarks

Dec 20th-2:30 pm ET – Improving Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities – Bipartisan Policy Center

View this in your browser here

Register Here:

Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities programs allow individuals with disabilities to work, increase their earnings, and retain access to Medicaid’s unique services that support independent living. Our first report, released in January 2021, addressed barriers to these programs for Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work. Now, BPC builds on that work with new federal policy recommendations that will encourage more states to cover or optimize their coverage of the MBI for Workers with Disabilities eligibility groups.

Please join BPC and a panel of experts and stakeholders to discuss the value of Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities programs, implementation challenges, and BPC’s policy recommendations to improve opportunities for workers with disabilities.

Featured Participants

Introduction: Bill Hoagland | Senior Vice President, BPC

Keynote: Kathy Hempstead | Senior Policy Adviser, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Annette Shea | Consultant, Annette Shea Consulting

Henry Claypool | Policy Director, Community Living Policy Center at Brandeis University

Nancy Scott | Working Healthy Director, Kansas Department of Health and Energy

Brittanie Hernandez-Wilson | Equity and Justice Director, The Arc Minnesota

Moderated by: Lisa Harootunian | Associate Director, Health, BPC

Register Now:

Bipartisan Policy Center 1225 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC, 20005; (202) 204-2400;

Assistive Technology Helps People Live at Home and Engage in Their Communities

Please join us today to celebrate National Assistive Technology (AT) Awareness Day. AT is evolving rapidly to support individuals with disabilities and older adults to live at home independently and with a higher quality of life. Smart home devices, including televisions, lights, thermostats, and security systems, now provide extraordinary environmental control opportunities for residents with mobility limitations. Devices that support memory and cognition assist older adults and others to stay current with medications. Home modifications, such as ceiling track systems, can lift persons with paralysis and move them between rooms. Service providers can even remotely monitor the routines of residents using sensors and then drop-in via video to provide assistance, support, and companionship.

However, most AT for housing continues to be simple devices such as threshold ramps, grab bars, and transfer poles, assisting individuals to avoid falls and save thousands of dollars in healthcare costs. 

AT also supports opportunities for people to engage in their communities, employment, education, and using transportation services.

To learn more review the fact sheets or contact your state AT program.

US Dept of Transportation March 24th Virtual Public Meeting on Air Travel by Persons Who Use Wheelchairs

The U.S. Department of Transportation is hosting a virtual public meeting regarding air travel by persons who use wheelchairs on March 24, 2022.  

During this meeting, there will be an opportunity to listen and learn from persons who use wheelchairs on the difficulties that they encounter during air travel and for airlines to discuss both the challenges that they face in providing accessible air transportation and the actions that they are taking or plan to take to improve the air travel environment.

The meeting will better enable the Department to move expeditiously on any necessary action to advance safe accommodations for air travelers with disabilities using wheelchairs. 

March 24, 2022
10:15 AM ET to 5:30 PM ET
Register Here
Full Link:

ASL and CART will be provided.

Requests to make oral comments during the meeting or to submit written materials to be reviewed during the meeting should be received at no later than March 21, 2022.

SUMMARY from DOT: This notice announces a public meeting of the U.S. Department of Transportation (Department or DOT), to be held virtually, on the difficulties encountered during air travel by persons who use wheelchairs.
The Federal Register Notice announcing the meeting can be found here 

HHS Issues New Guidance for Health Care Providers on Civil Rights Protections for People with Disabilities


Contact: HHS Press Office

HHS Issues New Guidance for Health Care Providers on Civil Rights Protections for People with Disabilities

Today, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to health care providers on civil rights protections for people with disabilities. The guidance, issued by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, makes clear that in light of the continuing public health emergency, when resources can be scarce, it is vital that individuals with disabilities are not prevented from receiving needed health care benefits and services as this violates federal civil rights laws.

“Our civil rights laws stand no matter what, including during disasters or emergencies, and it is critical that we work together to ensure equity in all that we do for all patients,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.  “The pandemic has shone a light on the disparities in our health care system and provided us with a new opportunity to address them in a meaningful way.  Protecting people with disabilities from being discriminated against in crisis situations is a critical part of this work, and we are continuing to evaluate our operations Department-wide to ensure accessibility.”

In today’s guidance, HHS clarified that federal civil rights laws apply to health care providers, including those administering COVID-19 testing, medical supplies, and medication.  These rules also apply to entities providing hospitalization, long-term care, intensive treatments, and critical care, such as oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilators.  Additionally, federal civil rights laws apply to state Crisis Standard of Care plans, procedures, and related standards for triaging scarce resources that hospitals are required to follow.  The FAQs remind health care providers of their obligations under law and provide examples of applicability.

“During a public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, biases and stereotypes may impact decision-making when hospitals and other providers are faced with scarce resources,” said OCR Director Lisa J. Pino.  “OCR will continue our robust enforcement of federal civil rights laws that protect people with disabilities from discrimination, including when Crisis Standards of Care are in effect.”

This guidance is one of many comprehensive action steps taken by HHS to support President Biden’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness to protect those most at risk, advance equity, and address disparities in rates of infection, illness, and death.

The FAQs for healthcare providers on federal civil rights requirements protecting individuals with disabilities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency may be found at:

For more information about how OCR is protecting civil rights during COVID-19, visit


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at
Like HHS on Facebook , follow HHS on Twitter @HHSgov , and sign up for HHS Email Updates.
Last revised: February 4, 2022

Webinar January 27 2-4PM ET – National Plan Increase Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities

The Employment First Community of Practice webinar “NEON National Plan to Increase Competitive Integrated Employment” will be held on January 27 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET.

Register for “NEON National Plan to Increase Competitive Integrated Employment”

In the webinar, Dr. David Mank and Dr. Richard Luecking will discuss the National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network’s national plan to increase Competitive Integrated Employment.

Joining them will be leaders from the five NEON national provider organizations: ACCSES, ANCOR, APSE, The Arc US and SourceAmerica.

“Mrs. Cratchit, the two young Cratchits & Tiny Tim”

DECEMBER 2021 – Mark E. Seifarth

Many of you know this is the third year of my growing tradition of relating a particular musing from Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” with the hope that we can see one of my favorite pieces of literature in a slightly different light.

TO PONDER – In a year of great triumph and great tragedy, Dickens may give us an opportunity to look at people who don’t often come into view or see them in a different light. Perhaps this is like many of the emergency folks, charity workers, volunteers, neighbors, first responders and many, many folks we may not think of until we need them – or folks for whom we may not give a second or even a first thought. Let’s talk this year of “Mrs. Cratchit, the two young Cratchits, & Tiny Tim”

“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail…”

Anyone who has read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens – or watched any of the myriad the movie or television adaptations knows this is how the story begins. Most of us know the main characters well. In fact, the name Ebenezer Scrooge has become so well known that the term Scrooge defines any miser or one who values money above all else or hoards money because he fears the world. Other characters that are recalled easily include Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit, Tim Tim and the Three Spirits – Past, Present, and Future.

Authors develop their main characters in such a way so that they will be memorable. Of course, it would be an understatement that Charles Dickens has done such a masterful job so that once we meet them, we will never forget such characters.

Dickens goes on to weave in additional individuals – Scrooge’s lost love known in the book at first as “a fair young girl” and then Belle, mentor & former apprenticeship boss Fezziwig, and son of Scrooge’s deceased sister, nephew Fred – into our memory as well.

As we read and watch the many additional characters in numerous renditions of “A Christmas Carol” during the holiday season, let’s visit with what we know and maybe what little we actually know of Tiny Tim, Mrs. Cratchit, and the Cratchit children.

We meet Mrs. Cratchit in this way, “…Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, Cratchit’s wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence; and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons; while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes…”

Even though we meet Mrs. Cratchit a number of times throughout this book and she has several memorable lines – such as “…It should be Christmas Day, I am sure,” said she, “on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge…” – she is given no first name. And we all know Mr. Cratchit’s first name – Bob.

Bob and Mrs. Cratchit have six children, Martha, Peter, Belinda, Tiny Tim, and two more known only as “the two young Cratchits.”

Here’s some of the book’s description of each of the children:

•             “…Martha, who was a poor apprentice at a milliner’s, then told them what kind of work she had to do, and how many hours she worked at a stretch…”

•             “…Bob Cratchit told them how he had a situation in his eye for Master Peter, which would bring in, if obtained, full five-and-sixpence weekly. The two young Cratchits laughed tremendously at the idea of Peter’s being a man of business…”

•             “…and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons…

•             “…in came little Bob, the father… and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Alas for Tiny Tim, he bore a little crutch, and had his limbs supported by an iron frame!… And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit… As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see… His active little crutch was heard upon the floor…”

•             There are numerous references to the other two children only as “the two young Cratchits.”

Have our mothers and women shouldered much more of the burden during Covid, given up more employment, and been more strongly impacted with more responsibility? Perhaps a Mrs. Cratchit comes to mind.

Are our unnamed “two young Cratchit” an opportunity to see the impact on children that may go unrecognized in a time when political discussions of education and back in the classroom may blur the actual needs of so many children?

Further I may ask us to have a chat about Tiny Tim and just maybe we spend too much time defining people with disabilities as heroic or as writes “…the lame but ever-cheerful Tiny Tim.”

Okay, let’s ponder for a moment, each of Dickens three characters that we may not focus on as often and allow me to put forward what they may teach us even today. Allow me, as Charles Dickens wrote in the preface to “A Christmas Carol,” “…haunt their (and your) houses pleasantly…”

MRS. CRATCHIT – While all authors decide how much information to provide as to their characters, I submit, it’s not okay that we do not know her first name. She has her own identity, and we should know it. As Bob Cratchit worked his backside off for only “fifteen shillings a week,” Mrs. Cratchit was keeping a home together with six children including a child with a disability. With almost no money and absolutely no public support, Mrs. Cratchit persevered. This may give us an opportunity for discussion about the treatment of women in our society, such as wage parity, paid childcare, and full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act so needed education & services are available.

Further, this is a time to remember women in your life without whom you would not be where you are today because they cared for and supported you without reward or recognition – even to their own detriment. Maybe now is the time to pick up the telephone, smartphone, computer – or dare I say – pen, and communicate and say thank you.

Perhaps this is the moment to advocate for equal pay for women, who earn on average 82 cents for every $1.00 a white man earns (year-round fulltime employment 2021 – – not to mention all the unpaid support they provide. Women of color earn on average just 52-63 cents for every $1.00 a white man earns (National Partnership for Women and Families).

TWO YOUNG CRATCHITS – In “A Christmas Carol,” the Cratchit children we know are either already working or about to go to work very young. But the “two young Cratchits” remind us that many times children are forgotten, an afterthought, or used in a policy discussion to bolster a particular point of view and not seen or consulted to fulfill their actual needs or development. Maybe this gives us a moment to ask what do my kids/our kids really need to succeed and how can I/we support them.

In this season of the year when perhaps giving is focused on more than receiving, in addition to giving our children shelter and sustenance, perhaps now is the time to express out loud how much we love and support them – how much we treasure our children and listen to them.

TINY TIM – Full Disclosure, I am a mature white man with a lifelong disability. So perhaps I don the mantle the Tiny Tim as I was a child with a disability and ask you to think deeply about what could be long held assumptions and even beliefs.

As part of the debate on the Americans with Disabilities Act that became law in 1990, Congress declared that having a disability is a natural part of the human experience. In fact, in the disability community we say that we are the only minority group that anyone can join and everyone usually does with at least a temporary disability at some point in their lives.

So I submit to you that we should not use “A Christmas Carol” to perpetuate the myth of “…poor Tiny Tim…” because “…he bore a little crutch, and had his limbs supported by an iron frame!…” He was and is simply a child who has a disability and needs medical and perhaps educational supports.

Unfortunately, he only receives those supports because the wealthy Ebenezer Scrooge finally assists him due in large part to the Ghost of Christmas Present’s admonition “…if these shadows remain unaltered, by the future, the child will die…” Perhaps this is moment to realize that at some point in our lives we will all need help and support, and those supports should be available to all not just those with a wealthy benefactor.

 Finally, I ask to think for a moment about “…And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit… As good as gold…” and again as writes “…the lame but ever-cheerful Tiny Tim…” As having a disability is a normal part of the human experience, people with disabilities are just like everyone else in that we have good days and bad days, are happy some days and sad others.

My spouse would tell you I am rarely as good as gold and not always cheerful. In my opinion, perhaps most particularly, I am not heroic or to be admired. I’ve had more surgeries and physical therapy than some others and that is part of my experience. Just like there are parts of who you are and your experiences that make you unique. We are all part of a great mosaic. I have the same feelings as most people. I also have a disability.

I would put forward that perhaps when someone encounters people with supports they are not accustomed to – crutches, wheelchair, power wheelchair, white cane, ventilator, talking technology to help us speak, hearing aids and supports, and many, many, many more – you may be surprised and even a little fearful that you may say or do something that is not appropriate or helpful.

At first, that is understandable as with anything new. Remember to see the person first and not the supporting technology that assists that person.

That’s the beauty and genius of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As we are all treated equally and have equal access, we learn from each other, grow, and understand each other’s experiences a bit more. As technology grows and improves, we all have better access and can learn together. Look how technology has helped us communicate and support each other in new ways in a time of pandemic.

Each year I will submit to you things that “A Christmas Carol” can continue to teach us.

It can teach us not to cling to antiquated and outmoded ways of thinking that treat people differently due to gender, age, disability, or many, many others I have not addressed specifically today. If the Three Spirits have taught us anything it is that we are all indeed equal – none greater, none lesser.

As the Ghost of Christmas Present admonished Scrooge “…If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

“Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.”

“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child…”