Dachel Wake Up: Special Ed Numbers Exploding
Avoiding Risky Situations

Connecticut Budget Woes Hit Adults with Special Needs Hard

Mia Mom KC bus
Mia's first day program day July 2016

By Kim Rossi

My daughter Mia has autism and is in a day program here in Connecticut.  She goes five days per week with transportation. While she is at her program I work and earn a living running Age of Autism, writing and consulting. I take care of Mia's sisters, who also have autism.

Today, a letter came home from the non-profit that runs her program (and dozens of other programs) that they are implementing furlough days for employees.  And families will have to pay out of pocket for the program and transportation - to the tune of more than $225 for the day.  There are six furlough days scheduled because Connecticut's budget is a train wreck and our  DEMOCRAT Governor thinks cutting the bone first is a fine idea. We have so much WEALTH in this state! And yet somehow services for the most vulnerable population is on the cutting block. 

I am my lodging protest right here, Governor Malloy.  Mia and her peers have a right to safe, healthy day.  Imagine if your local hospital or Alzheimer's unit said, "We'll be closed tomorrow. Good luck!"  Is care for those truly unable to care for themselves a privilege?  Privilege is the hedge fund life further down the Merritt in Greenwich and Stamford. Asking parents who've spent at LEAST 22 years taking care of their loved ones 24/7/365 to pony up hundreds of dollars because the STATE, one of the wealthiest states in the nation by the way, can't balance a budget is bulllroar.  We lost GE headquarters a few years ago. We are one of the LEAST business friendly states in America in terms of taxes and cost of living.  So what are we? We're not Republican. We're not Democrat. We're Draconiats?  Nonsense. 

How about I bring Mia and her peers to the statehouse and YOU help them manage their day. Feed them. Change those who need diapers. Work on their behaviors. Push their wheelchairs. Translate their non-verbal communication.  Sound good, Governor Malloy and the Democrats.  Oh, can I suggest you change out of your fine suit for this day? It's going to be messy.

Here's an article describing the situation further.

MERIDEN – Days from now when Connecticut begins operating without a budget, services around the state will be cut.

Governor Malloy’s Resource Allocation Plan balances $2.1 billion through cuts alone because he does not have the power to add revenue in his executive authority. This will be the state's reality until a budget is passed. Democrats in the House of Representatives say they plan to vote on a budget on July 18.

In the meantime, agencies like MidState Arc, formerly Arc of Meriden-Wallingford, are bracing for the effects of these emergency cuts. The Arc helps more than 300 people a day throughout central Connecticut. It provides services to help people with disabilities find work and learn life skills so they can gain their own independence.

Many of MidState Arc’s programs are funded under the Department of Developmental Services, which is cut by more than $4 million in the current ‘no budget’ plan. CEO Pamela Fields said it will cost them about $50,000 a month and they would have to eliminate seven positions.

“I’m not feeling comfortable that it is temporary or if it is temporary, how temporary is it? The longer those cuts are in place the more impactful it will be on the agency and the less sustainable it will be for us to move forward,” said Fields.

She said, “There’s plenty of ways to reallocate money and do the systems differently, so that everyone can get the services they need.”

Fields said the work they do ultimately saves the state money because it helps individuals with disabilities move from costly group homes to their own apartments. Edward Charlton has his own place, but he wouldn’t be able to live there without assistance from the Arc.

Charlton said, “The staff helped me to see my son, go grocery shopping, pay my bills and laundry and help me to cook.”

Individuals with disabilities and their families say they are fighting to be heard by lawmakers making these decisions.

“Taking people’s independence away is a way that you are taking people’s rights away,” said Shawn Gauthier, who receives services at the Arc.  Read more here.

Kim Rossi is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.

Comments

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Gayle

Kim-the politicians in Connecticut have no heart, no conscience, no thought for the disastrous impact this will have on the disabled population and their families. Your choice is to pay more than $225 dollars for five days or keep your daughter languishing at home for the week with nothing to do. The situation is, of course, unrealistic and not possible with either choice. What has happened to American government that they don't care about how people with disabilities are treated? We have a government that is dysfunctional and has lost interest in caring for people with disabilities. Disgraceful!

Morag

Good things happen with the right teamwork in place .
"When your voice is but a whisper" Capability Scotland and the making of[ youtube ]
Don't let them slash day service provision, far too important for people in so many ways .

Morag

Aye Angus ,I will post in contact details , apoligies for duff computer skills education act is 1976?
Our traing budget at then Scottish Council For Spastics now Capability Scotland made us choose between residential training for recreational sports/leisure pursuits for people with cerebral palsy and allied disabilities at Castle Priory College or a basic computer course in 1984 . I still need a computer course ! may be of interest and available to read online
Making leisure provision for people with profound and multiple disabilities by James Hogg and Judith Covet 1995 more my area than computers .

Pharma for

That would be interesting Morag maybe someone at AOA can pass on my e-mail to you or pass it on via AOA.Thanks in advance.

Pharma for Prison

MMR RIP

Morag

An unacceptable failure to provide an assessed basic need ie day service provision is still an institutional failure indicating learning disabilities sector of health and social care still considered a "cinderella service" ie , last on the list for a share of resources and first to slash service provision totally not ok at all . penny/cent wise. pound/dollar foolish financial governance a wast of floor space .
They don't pass a worthieness assesment of being fit for purpose to provide an essential service provision . There was no legal obligation to provide school places for children with disabilities until 1996 ? a good example of a cap-in hand 19th centuary poor house /work house "The handicapped label mentality still in full swing with a different haircut different style of shirt and shoes same old colour and pattern on the wallpaper . fancy buzz word terminology does not cover it either all lip service of excellence but in reality all fur coats no undergarments . Angus , freedom of information request some data available on street check area information on housing, people health economic activity and long term sick or disabled probably info from 2011 census?perhaps useful for you.

Angus Files

It seems the Governments of the world are totally determined and desperate to keep the financial costs down .Its the case that, if they hide the financial costs it won’t show up bad in their neat box ticked budgets and won`t cause any awkward discussion at work lunches or Christmas parties .I guess financial proof is hard proof whereas the disabled school figures can be put down to better diagnosis and give themselves a pat on the back for better diagnosis. Here in the UK if they can keep down the financial burden of looking after the damage they have caused by their vaccines the staff of the Department of Work And Pensions(DWP) will qualify for the win fall bonus wages by not giving disabled claimant’s their benefits- yeah well done NOT! For every disabled claimant they short change or even stop from claiming benefit they get paid an extra wage bonus. This was £190 million GBP in 2015.It was paid to staff for stopping the most vulnerable from claiming .Yes to the most vulnerable people who to be real about it can’t tie their shoelaces never mind fill in a 23 page document that expands to around 50 pages once you include the relevant information at least. Hence I always try and make sure I ask for the most expensive way out of sorting a problem for my son (but it aint easy).This goes against my make up! but I do try to make exceptions you understand. This poor lady (link below )I feel sorry for her but she must have thought her work pay structure ethics was fine when she was dishing it out to the disabled AKA my son and others and it now seems its only a crime when the exact same treatment is turned on her- what they put about comes about.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/im-ex-dwp-officer-now-9252789

Pharma for Prison

MMR RIP

Victoria J West

While the issue of getting a budget in place truly does create hell for those who rely on stability, this is a temporary situation that will be remedied. On the other hand, states will be facing even greater crisis if the proposals currently in the House and Senate come to pass. The movement of added costs to states who struggle to meet the expenses now in between budgets does not bode well for continuity of services or even SURVIVAL of services as things like community supports and long term supports are not MANDATORY for Medicaid coverage, they are optional. Currently it is attractive to have those programs because they are far more cost effective than other options (such as institutionalization) with the share contributed by the Federal Government at 50-75% of the cost depending on the specific program, but, block granting a fixed amount based on figures that do not reflect current expenses + projected growth and inflation promises to create a situation not unlike what your state is experiencing with no budget - the difference will be that there will be no emergency plan or renewed budget to replace those lost revenues.

While it may be a morally outrageous situation to be literally dumping people to the curb and locking doors, morality is not a player in the current negotiations. The arresting of people in wheelchairs being dragged from the halls of Congress are witness to that.

We need to be specific, loud and effective in making our needs known. We need to join with groups like ADAPT and The Advocacy Monitor through the National Council on Independent Living and the AARP. As frightening as this sudden event in the flow of living may be, the greater disaster is brewing. It's time to be organized and heard.

Benedetta

Are you going to have to pay for six days, then?
225 times 6 is 1,350 dollars, or she can just stay home for those six days?

Every time health issues arise; I feel like I should send the bill to my kid's baby doctors, I have sent bills to the NIH; just because I needed some emotional release even if it cost me postage to mail it. I thought that they would have to respond and at least it would take some time for that. But they don't even respond. I guess someone had to open it, so that was well not much.

It really is not enough for the government, tax payers to pay. The ones that was in charge should have to pay out of pocket till there is nothing left of their bank accounts and then they can go from house hold to house hold and see what they can do to help.

kws

It is a train wreck. The financial statements reflect massive costs for labor, healthcare, pensions, and debt service. The governor and legislature must address these issues to balance a budget. Start with the pensions.

Chipping away at Autism services isn't going to do it. I'm sorry to see this.

Willie

One of the problems is the supposed "Disabled Rights Advocates" advocating the mundane and media friendly issues. Like banning the "R" word to prevent people with Downs syndrome from hurt feelings, and suing a library in the Virgin Islands for lack of "accessible" facilities. The never talk about abuse or neglect or the developmentally disabled nor other physical disabilities and especially not budget cuts to the developmental services departments. How does this relate to autism? when a so called advocate is policing the 'R" word he or more commonly she does not care about other issues like budget cuts to the ARC or any developmental disabilities service agencies nor prosecuting a bad mother for murdering her child with autism.

John Stone

Kim

This is a terrible disgrace. The politicians keep on walking away from their negligence, their incompetence, their intellectual and moral cowardice - not to mention their moral turpitude. As a class, perhaps, even more than creepy officials and industry bullies they deserve deep public contempt. They are bought out, lazy and they just don't get it any more. Either side of the pond you shudder to see them in action.

Thoughts with you as ever.

John

Gary Ogden

Isn't Connecticut the wealthiest state? But they seem to have no idea what common decency demands, to help support those they have injured.

HarvardMD

Outrageous!
Who would think reading this that the US is the wealthiest country EVER in history?!
My heart goes out to you, Kim, your girls and your family!

greyone

what an extraordinarily shameful political act.

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