Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kansas Considers Cutting Budget for Disabled Benefits

Several of my close and dear friends have children who have developmental disabilities. They are sweet kids and these families only just get by with what little help there is. There are long waiting lists and little funds. So many kids are not getting even close to the care that they need. Now they are talking about cutting this down even further. Please take the time to read this and contact your legislation. A simple email goes a long way. Thank you!!!!!!
The Kansas House of Representatives is set to consider a budget bill which will cut more than $20 million from services for Kansans with developmental disabilities. This represents a near 10% cut in funding for DD services in the state of Kansas.
What does this mean?
1. A complete loss of all discretionary State dollars that are used to support more than 2,000 Kansas children and adults with DD. Roughly 22% of all Kansans with DD rely on these dollars to live in communities across the state.
2. An almost 50% cut in Family Support Grants which are used to provide vitally-needed help to families who care for a loved one with DD.
3. A cut of more than $8 million in the HCBS DD Waiver, which was already critically underfunded, which will result in an even larger waiting list for help (current waiting lists already number more than 3,900 children & adults with DD).
How does this affect you?
These cuts will result in job eliminations in communities around the state, and potential wage cuts to direct-care staff who we know already make wages at, or near, the poverty line. One Kansas DD service provider has already calculated that 15% wage cut will need to be enacted in order keep the organization's doors open.In Sedgwick County over 300 individuals are served in residential, day programs or supportive home care through State Grant Funds. A reduction could eliminate some of these individuals from services and the remainder would have their services drastically reduced.The State Aid reduction of $1.2 million will impact the dollars utilized for crisis support and programs for youth that are provided by The Arc and Rainbows United.
What can you do to help?
Call your legislator right now. You don't need to be an expert on anything but your own experience at your job & your reaction to this news. Imagine how a cut like this would affect your life; your family's lives; the persons you serve & their families. Tell your legislator that IF they pass this bill it will affect the lives of individuals in their own community

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