Monday, February 7, 2011

The Arc Testifies: No More Cuts

Over 200 advocates, service providers and family members stood in a long line to testify on Friday 2/4 at the California State Assembly.
I was proud to lead our contingent from The Arc of San Francisco and highlight our key concerns:
The state cannot balance the budget on the backs of people with developmental disabilities. We've already been cut to the bone with rate freezes for the last 10 years and a 4.25% 'discount' that amounts to a loss of over $100,000 each year--just to The Arc of San Francisco alone. Further cuts would essentially dismantle the Lanterman Act which guarantees the supports our clients need to live in the community.
This idea--that the state will assess the income of families and clients and determine who is eligible for services--is discriminatory and stigmatizes lower income families. The Lanterman Act gave all our children with developmental disabilities in California the right to be served, just like all kids have the right to a public education. Will the State also start a 'means test' to determine elegibility for public school?
The state has asked for concerned families to provide input using an open-ended questionnaire created on Survey Monkey (!). We cannot set policy using an unscientific, unmeasurable and subjective format. We need changes in our system that are based on what's working and not working efficiently in our state.
On February 17th, Thursday at 9:20am in Sacramento, the Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Senator Mark Leno, will be hearing our concerns. JOIN US! Or email/call your legislator to give your feedback on these issues.
Thanks to eveyone who took time to testify on Friday, and to those of you raising your voices for the services and human rights of people with disabilities so that they can be included in our communities--not segregated.

Tim Hornbecker, CEO
(Photo: Tim Hornbecker testifying before the California State Assembly)