PAR Mail 2018-25, February 7, 2018
PAR Advocacy Moves
on to the General Assembly
Waiting List, Transition Programs for Students Turning 22 Cheered as
´╗┐Effort Continues to add DSP/Rate Funding
In advocating for the FY 18/19 Budget, PAR, as a member of the ID/A Coalition, called upon the Administration to provide:

  1. funding for rate reform that would enable raises for Direct Support Professionals
  2. fund the emergency waiting list
  3. provide funding for special education students turning 22 who require ODP services

The Governor's budget provided partial support for items 2 and 3; with 100 individuals (out of 800 estimated number provided by ODP) expected to receive service, 40 additional individuals with autism to receive services; and 800 graduating students scheduled to receive services during FY 18/19.

PAR is grateful to the Administration for funding new services for many individuals and families truly in need of services and supports. Many of those services will be dependent upon provider agencies to implement, a challenge with DSP vacancies and staff turnover due to low wages.

The campaign to raise rates to Fix the DSP Crisis will continue, the next step will be to appeal to House and Senate leadership, as well as rank and file Representatives and Senators, to add additional dollars to the budget.

Achieving such an increase will not be easy, however PAR Members are encouraged by the 7000 volunteers who called the Governor's office this past month, successfully raising the profile on disability issues within the Administration.

House and Senate Members will write their own budget in the next five months; in the course of debate and consideration, the House and Senate will merge their respective budgets into a single budget that will be presented to the Governor. Whether it will resemble the Governor's proposed budget remains to be seen.