Susan's Blog

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Push Back, AFC Clients!

Massachusetts families, advocates, and caregivers. Did you know that Mass Health is filing for a 9C cut, which in this case means WITHHOLDING 2 WEEKS RESPITE TIME FOR ADULT FAMILY CAREGIVERS???? This is unconscionable. Those that work with our guys need time off! Write to Mass Health if you can and tell them they must not do this. As Gary Blumenthal and the ADDP have told their constituents: PUSH BACK!! Protect our vital caregivers’ right to respite!

Note: Nat is not an AFC client but there but for the grace of DDS funding goes he!

Write to:

Here’s my letter, just use it however you can.

Dear Mr. Tsai, et al.,
My son is 25 and has fairly severe autism. He is *not* an AFC user because he has had the “good luck” to be severe enough to warrant Priority One funding with the DDS. However, we had planned on using AFC in case we could not attain the Priority One. Since he’s been an adult, I have come to know others — younger families whose children are aging out of the school system — who will be applying for the AFC program. The AFC program is pretty much the only support for them, because DDS is strained and now the Autism Omnibus Bill has made it possible for *more* of those on the autism spectrum to apply for services. Yet, what are the chances that this newly eligible population will actually get anything, the way the DDS budget is?

So if families are lucky enough to get AFC, they can at least count on a small stipend for their work with their loved ones. They love their clients/disabled family members but the work is very very rough. I know this, from having my son live with me all the years prior to his residential move. Oh, how my heart broke to send him to live at his school. I still cry when I drop him off at his apartment with his caregiver. His caregiver is trustworthy and wonderful but he needs time off.

Don’t you get vacation time for your stressful jobs? Then how is it that you can file to suspend 14 days respite for AFC caregivers?? How can you possibly live with yourself doing that? What you need to do instead is work harder for the funds to support this respite. As people in charge of Health and Human Services, you owe it to your clients to advocate for them, not to reduce their lives.

You must do the right thing. Let the Legislature find the money somewhere else and do NOT take it from poor hard working caregivers!

Thank you,
Susan Senator

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