One hand giveth and the other taketh away
Programs to support people with developmental disabilities to get boon from the Feds while Colorado cuts
The Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, working with President-elect Barack Obama, just released its long awaited second economic stimulus package American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. This bill and a similar one in the Senate are expected to move quickly through the legislative process so that President Obama in mid February can sign it into law.
Both proposed federal bills have numerous provisions that identify increase spending on disability programs. Additionally, other funding increases to states and communities could also be utilized to provide numerous types of assistance to people with disabilities and the programs that support them.
However, in a contradiction of policy and priorities while the federal government looks to enhance the reinvestment of money into programs that support children and adults with intellectual disabilities Colorado is looking to "freeze" and ultimately decrease such services.
In a memorandum dated January 14, 2009, the Colorado Department of Human Services Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD) states, "Until further notice and effective immediately, DDD is instituting a freeze on new enrollments [for people with developmental disabilities] into the HCBS-DD Waiver, HCBS-SLS Waiver, the State Comprehensive Services Program and the State SLS Programs."
The memorandum also states that all emergency funds that were previously allocated have been remanded. Earlier in 2008, DDD had likewise placed a moratorium on all placements into any of the state run regional center programs.
"While we appreciate the proposal to reinvest funding at the Federal level, many parents feel somewhat betrayed by Governor Ritter and his administration," said Aimee Pemberton, The Arc of Aurora board president. "We had worked hard to help the Ritter administration understand the seriousness of the waiting list crisis on families and to now have funding frozen and services cut ... it's a real heart breaker."
Colorado is estimated to have more than 13,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities waiting upwards of ten years for support that would help them live in their community and contribute to the best of their ability.