Alert: Act Before August 16 to Save Our Developmental Disability Services
During the next two weeks, we urge you to visit your state reps while they are on recess and here in their home districts. Hey, visiting your elected representatives is fun! This is America! If you can't get appointment, ask the office about local events with your rep that you can attend. And at a minimum, leave a message urging your rep to support a budget boost for developmental services.
California’s developmental services are in crisis and the current budget offers no relief. A special legislative session called by Gov Brown, however, may result in some budget fixes—but we need to push. Here are some points you can use to educate your legislators:
• The system for people with developmental disabilities is falling apart. A coalition asked for a 10% boost in the Dept of Developmental Services (DDS) budget because the system is reeling from a billion dollars in prior years' cuts. This increase is necessary for service providers to pay their workers and keep afloat.
• 30% of providers have left the DDS system over the past decade. There won't be a system left if we don't increase funding.
• Autism and developmental disability care workers have largely not seen a pay raise in eight years. Disability agencies can’t hold onto staff, the workers make more money serving fast food.
• California spends less per person for Medicaid waiver developmental disability services than any other state. A service provider here in the Bay Area needs to function on less than providers in Kansas or Idaho.
• California’s population of adults with autism is soaring. The DDS-eligible numbers of autistic adults age 22 and up will double over the next five years, and triple over the next ten, to 42,000 individuals. And within 20 years our state will have more than 80,000 such adults with these severe forms of autism, and in need of a wide variety of supportive program and housing solutions. Yet there's no funding.
• Support Beall, Monning and Pavley's bill SB 2X-1 which provides a 10% funding boost for regional center and purchase-of-service vendors; funding to address new minimum wage requirements; and direction to DDS to develop a 10-year financial sustainability plan.
To find your elected representatives, click here: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
Get the latest news from the Lanterman Coalition: http://www.lantermancoalition.org/action.html
Thanks, and now, pick up your phone and call!
Jill Escher, President
Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area