South Carolina Medicaid Director Tony Keck will be the keynote speaker at an "independent living" conference for people with disabilities and their caregivers Thursday and Friday at Trident Technical College.

Keck, who will speak Thursday, will discuss the need for in-home care, which allows people with disabilities to live in their homes instead of institutions.

About 12,000 South Carolinians receive Medicaid-paid home care, said Jeff Stensland, a spokesman for the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The state is adding 550 slots to the home care program this year, Stensland said in an email.

"There is plenty of evidence that not only do enrollees prefer home care, but it also saves money," he said.

Workshops at the conference include talks on Social Security, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the history of independent living history.

The conference, hosted by the disAbility Resource Center, a North Charleston nonprofit group, will be held at the College Center Building. For more information contact disAbility Resource Center Assistant Director Nathan Todd at 225-5080.