Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MA, MI and NY facing cuts in programs for people with developmental disabilities

An April 20 email newsletter put out by the ARC of Colorado summarized budgets for services for individuals with developmental disabilities in six states.
state legislative funding situations for DD services: MN is looking at graduated sales tax increases to particularly benefit persons with developmental disabilities and the elderly. In MD, a legislative proposal to increase the state alcohol tax to deal with the WL was defeated in the last days of the session. MA is expecting severe cuts in family support programs. MI is experiencing devastating reductions in state revenue and program funding. VA is restoring cuts previously made to waiver programs as a result of an overturn of a gubernatorial veto and The Arc in VA is working on a new Autism waiver (Carol—Betty, you may get a call.) NY is still waiting for the last shoe to drop re: state funding for DD services. They do not expect any outright reductions but, for the first time in 25 years, do not expect any increases.

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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.