Susan's Blog

Friday, April 12, 2013

If you are a Massachusetts resident…

This is your chance to effect services for people with developmental disabilities!!  Go to the capwiz application here and contact your state rep about supporting and cosponsoring the DDS bills in the works! These bills would improve DDS funding for programs like Turning 22 and Salaries for Caregivers!  Here is my sample letter. Cut and paste it and put in the name of your disabled loved one!

April 12, 2013

[recipient address was inserted here]

Dear [recipient name was inserted here],

As the mother of a 23 year old with fairly severe autism, I am concerned
about adequate community-based services and supports for people with
developmental disabilities served through the Department of Developmental
Services (DDS).  There are many people waiting for services and we also
are concerned about potential cutbacks for staff working in the field who
are among the lowest paid in our Massachusetts workforce!

Please co-sponsor the following amendments by contacting the amendment
sponsor.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.

DDS, 5920-5000, Turning 22 Programs and Services:  lead sponsor Rep. Sean
Garballey. The proposed amendment of $2 million to help all of the
graduating High School Services who will need services upon graduation.
Total would then be $8 Million.

The Turning 22 program provides first year funding to special education
graduates for adult services. If funding is not available students go from
receiving special education to having no supports as adults. Some lose
jobs while others require residential services. Family members may have to
leave their jobs to address the lack of adult services for a family member
which may result in severe consequences for the family.

DDS, 5920-3000, Family Support/Respite Program, Sponsor Paul Brodeur.  The
Arc/ADDP/MFOFC are asking for $3 million more to serve another 2500 people
needing family support & respite. (House Ways and Means provided $2
million additional. More families seek family support and respite each
year, with increasing wave of people with autism and other developmental
disabilities, family in home support and therapies are most cost
effective. The supports assist families to maintain a balance. These
services also delay or avoid costly residential and emergency services.

program, 5948-0012 and 7061-0012, sponsor-Rep. Jen Benson. This is a
FAMILY PRESERVATION program which transfers money from DESE to DDS to
prevent residential school placement on a voluntary basis for families.
The Arc/ADDP/MFOFC request $1 Million more to address the need for and
additional 75 families in need of  services. In 2009 the account was at $8
Million and this increase brings it to $7.5 Million.

DDS Residential Account, 5920-2000, sponsor-Rep. Denise Garlick. This
Community Residential Services (5920-2000) is $14 Million below the
Governor’s (Gov) budget request. That request funded 50% of chapter 257
increased rates for this line item over three quarters. This amendment
will require the administration to provide a plan to the legislature in
September 2013 that outlines how it will meet 100% of funding of chapter
257 for all EOHHS programs covered by the law, including but not limited
to DDS, Early Intervention, MRC, Brain Injury, DPH and others.

Thank you again in advance- please co-sponsor these amendments.

Thank you,

Susan Senator

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