National Federation of the Blind of Florida

RESOLUTION 2000-3

WHEREAS the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind teaches
that if a blind person is given the proper training and opportunity, blindness
is only a physical nuisance; and

WHEREAS the goal of the National Federation of the Blind is the removal
of the social, legal, and economic barriers faced by blind individuals; and

WHEREAS, the Florida Division of Blind Services is the State agency
charged with the task of providing rehabilitation services to individuals who
are blind; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Florida is an
organization whose members are advocates and consumers of
rehabilitation services, with a vested interest in the availability of the most
effective, highest quality programs; and

WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature has passed measures to investigate
the privatization of Florida's Department of Vocational Rehabilitation; and

WHEREAS, this legislation created the Occupational Access Opportunity
Commission (OAOC) to oversee a pilot study of the feasibility of the effects
of privatization of the State's Vocational Rehabilitation Services; and

WHEREAS, such privatization may be considered for the Florida Division
of Blind Services; and

WHEREAS, privatization of public rehabilitation services may increase the
layers of bureaucracy and fragment services, creating accountability
problems, and an inconsistent philosophy of rehabilitation; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Florida believes these
issues would have a dramatic, negative impact upon the scope and quality
of the services provided, adversely affecting the rehabilitation potential of
the individual: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by The National Federation of the Blind of Florida,  in
convention assembled, this second day of September, 2000, in the City of
Fort Lauderdale, Florida,  that this Organization strongly opposes the
privatization of the Florida Division of Blind Services until a full and complete
assessment is made of the impact of such privatization on the consumers of
these services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon our legislators to include
the input of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida on this, and all
other issues concerning blind citizens in the State of Florida.