From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Americans with Disabilities Act is pivotal in our work to strengthen the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans

July 28, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Thirty-three years ago this week, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This historic civil rights law protects the rights of people with disabilities.

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment, transportation, public accommodations, telecommunications, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services.

Approximately 61 million adults and about 4.3% of children under 18, in the United States have a disability. People with disabilities face higher rates of poverty and unemployment.  Access to healthcare is a significant concern, with barriers ranging from physical accessibility to inadequate medical services.

DHW’s core mission is to strengthen the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans; the ADA is an integral part of our work to overcome these challenges and fulfill that mission.

DHW values inclusion and diversity for the Idahoans we serve. We want program participants to tell us their needs, to help us understand their struggles, and to share with us their successes, so that we can provide them with the services they need and help them live their best lives. We want the people we serve to feel that their needs are recognized and have been met to the best of our ability.

DHW also values inclusion and diversity for our employees.  We want employees to contribute their perspectives about how the department can meet the needs of those we serve.

As a department, we have processes in place for both employees and customers to request assistance. We want to make sure our employees have what they need to be successful at work and our customers have equal access to programs, activities, and services.

For customers, help is available to those who need it. Dial 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588 or text 898211 to be connected to a 2-1-1 community resource specialist 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday through Friday. You can also call the Northwest ADA Center-Idaho, voice and text 208-841-9422. Relay: 7-1-1.

Our hope is that our employees and the Idahoans we serve experience a sense of belonging and feel valued for many things, including their perspectives, contributions, backgrounds, cultures, trainings, and the life experiences that shape them.

While we are dedicated to fulfilling our mission and responsibility under the ADA, we can always do more. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to improve—including working with our community partners. Thank you to the numerous agencies focused on serving individuals with disabilities; working collaboratively, we can and will make a positive difference.

The ADA stands as a beacon of hope and progress for people with disabilities, safeguarding their rights and promoting equal opportunities in various aspects of life. To achieve a more inclusive society, it’s crucial for each one of us to be proactive in promoting accessibility and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The ADA serves as a reminder that together we can create a more just and equitable world for everyone.

I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend! 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at 

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