Saturday, March 6, 2010

South Carolinians, Help the Disabled in our State

I'm writing today to ask my readers who are from South Carolina  to help my Noah and disabled children and adults like him. Currently in our state of South Carolina, when a child with moderate to severe developmental disabilities (In case you are curious, Noah's state diagnosis is moderate developmental disabilities.) becomes an adult there are a few options. They can go into a residential facility where they would receive all their care. They can go into a day program where they'd receive care (sort of similar to adult day care) or they can go into a day work type program where they receive care and then often do some type of very easy job such as sorting products or something similar to that. (This is a very basic explanation of the services and how they were explained to me recently. For the record, Noah’s IEP goals are working him towards the day work program.) 

The House, Ways, and Means Committee is proposing a 28% budget cut in the State budget for the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. These proposed budget cuts would take away these programs leaving nothing for the adults currently receiving services from these programs and nothing for Noah and children like him when they reach adulthood. Without these services many parents of adults and children with special needs would have no option as to how their children would be cared for during the day which means some of these parents would be unable to work. Also, these adults and children with be losing a healthy, stable, and safe environment that provides them with care, satisfaction, and stimulation. I know as a parent, it would be hard for me to personally provide Noah the type of experience obtained through a day program and that experience would be a total one eighty versus the experience he would have staying at home all day as an adult. Sure, I’d come up with some things for him to do but it wouldn’t be the same at all. 

Let’s break it down even more………
Some facts about what the proposed budget cuts mean:|

  • This equates to a $47 million dollar reduction. 
  • The Loss in Medicaid Funding will be over $110 million. 
  • 157 Million dollars worth of services will be cut. 
  • All services but residential services will be eliminated in the state. 
  • 25,700 individuals and families will lose services in the state.
  • 3,100 jobs will be lost throughout the state. 

The South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs has taken the largest cut of any state agency. The most vulnerable part of the state population is being asked to take a disproportionate amount of the cuts in the state.

As you can tell from reading those facts, these cuts will have a profound impact on services for individuals with developmental disabilities. So, I’m asking my fellow South Carolinians to please contact your legislator and let them know the determent these cuts will cause to the adults and children in the Special Needs community. 

Does the thought of calling up a legislator’s office intimidate you? Don’t worry – it did intimidate me initially as well. Check out this link to some tips for calling your legislator. 

So, how do you know who your Legislators are? Check out this link to find your Legislators using your zip code. 

So, please, take 5 minutes and make this call. You’ll be helping many!

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