NO supports, NO safety nets and NO protective services, all but guarantees the likelihood of abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults with developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania. A proposed 17.3 million budget cut makes a horrible situation worse!
Pennsylvania can't afford to have people sit at home with nothing, or forced into extremely costly institutional settings. There needs to be a shift in funding to "Community- based waivers" that supports individuals and families in their communities.
We the people of Pennsylvania, individuals, parents, advocates, educators, professionals, family members, friends and others listed below call upon the Pennsylvania House and Senate, Pennsylvania's Governor Rendell; Harriet Dichter Acting Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare; and Kevin Casey, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Developmental Programs to appropriately fund critical community services for all adults with developmental disabilities in need.
Pennsylvania is currently completely denying services to 18,013 individuals, of whom 11,988 are in critical and emergency situations, (facing loss of housing, care for by elderly parents, lacking access to critical care.)
Additionally, there are severe proposed budget cuts of 17.3 million dollars, and even people getting necessary services can lose them. The waiting list will continue to grow as 700 plus graduates each year exit educational funding with nothing to turn to in adult services. These are young adults who have been provided necessary services to participate in their communities throughout Early Intervention and special education, but once they turn 21 they will be denied the services they should receive through "Home and Community-based Waivers". They will be denied any supports at all.
The failure to provide supports and services leaves adults with developmental disabilities with no safety net and very much threatens their lives. It leads to isolation, unemployment, poverty, decreased quality of life, physical, social and emotional problems, loss of skills, crisis, abuse and neglect, and sometimes death. It can often end with costly tax payer funded institutional placements. Basically, it ruins lives, the one's the state has supported for 21 years prior, and are well aware in advance of their needs. It hurts families and communities too.
Pennsylvania is one of only a few states without adult protective services, the combination of denying services and protection not only sets people up for certain failure, it greatly increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect, and in some cases death.
This is not acceptable; we do not want the state to continue a funding bias toward more costly institutional and nursing home placements, while ignoring that community services are far more cost effective and greatly improve, help maintain and enhance the overall quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
We want Pennsylvania citizens with developmental disabilities to enter adult life with adequate funding for lifetime services and supports, without gaps or delays. We urge you to reconsider the budget cuts targeted at people with developmental disabilities and to provide the community-based waiver funding the state has indicated a commitment to through its guiding principles.
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