A day in the life of a single mom raising a teenager and a child with autism. I believe that it's not what we receive, but what we give away that defines us. I want to give away all that I have learned and experienced in hopes that it will help families raising a child with autism or any disability. This is my candid journal where I open up my world and share my joys, knowledge, lessons, disappointments, challenges, frustrations, fears and successes - one day at a time.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
New Report: Regional Center System on the Brink of Collape
Below is an email communication I received today. This topic will touch all of us, even those who don't have a family member with a developmental disability, like autism. I could go down the moral path, jump on my soapbox and go on about society being defined by how it cares for those who cannot care for themselves, but for now I'll stick to the financial implications. The lack of funding to the Regional Centers - where the immediate cost of care is less expensive than the long term cost of neglect - will impact our society as a whole when the bill comes due. Simply put, if we do not fund early intervention, help individuals to reach their potential to become tax payers & live independently, and support families to keep individuals living in their homes vs costly and ineffective institutions individuals with DD's will be forced to rely on social services with tax payers footing 100% of the bill. This is an important issue for all of us. We all need to weigh in and be heard. For me it's simple, do I want a person who is being paid below minimum wage to care for my son when I can't? Who will give up their ability to live, to care of my family? Do I want my son living in a State Developental Center, where a shower is being hosed down by a fire hose? No I don't. If you think this scenario is impossible watch the video from the 70's and wake up, then take action. Make a call. Write a letter.
Long-term underfunding of the service system has left both service providers and regional centers struggling to serve more people with fewer resources, which results in higher caseloads and less customization of service options. Today, service rates are lower despite the higher cost of living and working in California and caseload ratios are higher than in most other states. The result is a system that oftentimes is providing a servicerather than the right service, and is at risk of losing significant federal funding.
California spends less on its developmental services system for each resident of the state than most other states in the nation. When taking into account the relative wealth of each state, California’s performance is even lower and continues to decline.
In general, California’s rates for residential facilities, day and work services, and supported employment programs fall behind other large or western states. The impact of this difference is exacerbated by California’s high cost of living and other costs of doing business such as its highest-in-the-nation workers’ compensation premiums. In most metropolitan areas examined for this report, California’s service rates were lower, but the cost of living was significantly higher.
ARCA hopes this report will increase your understanding of the fiscal challenges California’s developmental services system faces in fulfilling its promise to individuals and their families and the urgent need for both short and long-term Budget solutions, which ARCA and the other Lanterman Coalition members support, to stabilize and advance the system. If questions arise regarding the enclosed report, please feel free to email us via this contact form.