Last Wednesday I attended yet another set of hearings in Sacramento dealing with the desperate situation that service providers that work with persons with developmental disabilities in California. During the long line of testimony that we heard - Carol McKinney from Harmony Homes gave a great talk about what this lack of funding means to the people her agency serves and the dedicated workers that have endured this shameful lack of commitment to the most vulnerable citizens in our state.
To hear her testimony - go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQqYJHyizYs&list=PL5dEwlCC642pI7_k1vI3UVEmPqSR7eOBz
California is in a special legislative session to deal with this crisis, but there is no guarantee that it will succeed - in fact I am doubtful. Even so - we are at a key point in time that will likely set a course that cannot be reversed. As Carol articulately described - they can no longer wait another year. Programs are shutting down now - and as we lose them - it will be almost impossible to replace them. Sometimes it is difficult for the public to understand what this means to them, but for the parents of a young child with I/DD, when your child is ready to transition into the community in all likelihood many of the services we take for granted will not exist - and what will exist will likely have long waiting lists. These are core programs - there is no fluff. For the special needs trust practitioner as well as trustees, care mangers and advisors that serve persons with I/DD, it is essential that you listen to this 13 minute video so you can understand what is at stake. For the persons with I/DD and their families, please listen to this and forward this video to other families and advocates as well.
For those willing to learn more - the video by Chad Carlock on this playlist explains the system - and even more chilling is his review of the landmark case of the Arc of California V DDS that outlines how our entitlement system would be lost if DDS cannot fulfill the mandate of the Lanterman entitlement. I have queued up the video at that segment at this link about how this would happen. https://youtu.be/ONKlRqoUVlE?t=27m
Lastly - to keep up with developments - go to http://www.lantermancoalition.org/ . In addition - go to the Arc of California's website at http://www.thearcca.org and also sign up for the Monday Morning Memo at http://www.thearcca.org/2.html
Stephen W. Dale