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More State Budget Cuts Mean Fewer Civil Rights for People With IDD

NYSARC’s latest “News & Alerts/Legislative Advocacy Network” spotlights services to people with IDD being cut by state governments across the nation to balance budgets and stem acute fiscal crises.

Budget cuts would be devastating to service providers and to those who receive services, like Maryland resident Ken Capone, who has cerebral palsy. Capone, a self-advocate and public policy coordinator for People on the Go said, “I just got approved for in-home services. I live with my mother. She’s in her 70s and is still my primary caregiver. I don’t want to lose the services that I just received because of the cuts. It’s scary what would happen if I did lose my services.”

From coast to coast – from Washington to Massachusetts – funding for basic services is at risk and thousands will be hit hard. The Maryland Secretary of the State’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says “we’re beyond the point where painless cuts can be made.”

Recently we shared advocacy efforts by The Arc of Texas on behalf of more than 4,500 people with IDD in Texas “trapped” in nursing homes providing inadequate care. The Arc and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities joined to file a class-action lawsuit against Texas along with six individuals with IDD.

The Arc knows that most people receive better care in a community-based facility or in their own homes and in this instance, “Many are denied the opportunity to live where they choose.” said Mike Bright, executive director of The Arc of Texas.

Advocates know more budget cuts undermine the ability of an individual to make choices about where they live, work and enjoy the freedom to live independently. As one disability advocate in Boston said, “the bottom line is that the more budget cuts we endure, the more our civil rights are reduced.”