IARF was founded on the knowledge and expertise of its members - in essence our members are a community of practice. We have an active structure that involves members in developing our positions on key issues. The Association is also fortunate to have a strong staff that maintains contact with members, seeks their advice and brings collective input to committee and Board discussion. Policy decisions are based on thoughtful consideration of the short- and long-term impact on the delivery of supports and services in the community.
The Association maintains strong relationships with state agencies that regulate and oversee the delivery of community services. These relationships facilitate input and comment on issues that directly or indirectly impact the effectiveness of our members in delivering quality services. Good public policy is at the foundation of successful outcomes for individuals. For that reason, IARF maintains a sharp focus on ensuring our collective membership's voice is heard.
Perhaps the most significant contribution which the Association makes to the membership is its work with the General Assembly. During session, Association staff monitor thousands of bills and select those which may affect members. Those selected pieces of legislation are followed with special attention devoted to monitoring the impact of the bills. Staff are then prepared to notify members about advocacy efforts.
Additionally, IARF provides input to the Administration during the development of its annual budget bringing forward the priorities of our membership. Once the budget is introduced, our attention turns to the process of passing a budget during which we provide analysis and testimony and engage our members in active advocacy. Our goal is simple - work hard to make sure there are adequate resources to support individuals in the community and allow our member organizations to provide those supports with qualified, well trained staff.
A big part of IARF's success and reputation is found in its roster of members. We strive to represent agencies that aspire to be great, are willing to work to shape good public policy, and who believe the uniqueness of each brings energy to our ultimate goal of supporting people with disabilities and those with mental illnesses to achieve their life's goals. The Association takes great pride in the work of our members and even more in the fact that they are willing to share their collective experience for the benefit of the field in general.
As a member, you receive...
Newsnotes: a "hot sheet" that synthesizes information from the week in a quick, easy-to-read format emailed to members every Thursday. Newsnotes covers the latest news from the Capitol and reports from meetings with state agency personnel, committees and departments and to alert members to upcoming meetings and events.
Members Only Website: allows members 24-hour access to premium legislative updates and alerts, postings on state and national issues affecting community services; committee information, current and past publications, and much more!
Education & Training: IARF hosts an annual conference as well as many other learning opportunities for all levels of staff in community organizations. With IARF membership, you receive discounted rates for all events. IARF educational offerings provide members with new skills and continuing education to maintain state regulatory and licensing requirements.
"In my experience, the IARF Annual Conference is the most important time for me and my staff to come together with others and celebrate the successes that happen everyday in our organizations. While the topics at the conference - and other training events throughout the year - speak to the challenges we precieve as blocking our ways - the hallway conversations, the meals shared, the time before sessions begin, the informal time - that is where we find new energy to deal with whatever comes our way. I wouldn't miss it!" Carl M. La Mell, President, Clearbrook, Arlington Heights, Illinois
Individual Agency Advocacy: While effectively representing the collective of our members, we work hard to assist our members as individual entities. Over the years, staff have facilitated countless meetings on behalf of members that resulted in resolution of seemingly insurmountable odds. It's the additional benefit of building good relationships with people in key positions.
Information & Research: A valuable service for member agencies is the collection of raw data and the synthesis of that data. Experience has provided for a proficient staff whose accomplishments include reports such as the IARF Salary Survey - a comparative analysis of salaries and benefits in community agencies by position, degree, years of experience and other demographics.
The Group Purchasing Organization: Another service that allows members to operate their organizations in the most cost effective manner possible. Group purchasing allows members to participate in a product/service discount purchasing program that can bring you a cost savings on certain products from 10% - 30%.