There is a 9:00 am meeting being set up for this Saturday, Feb 5, at the SF Holiday Inn City Center in the Burgundy Room for our local legislators to talk with area providers and families of people with disabilities (or developmental disabilities). It would be good to arrive between 8:30 and 8:45.
It would be great if parents, family members or self-advocates could come and be a part of this discussion/show support to show how much a 10% cut would affect us and our families.
We need to be a strong presence in the legislators minds this year more than most or we will have consequences beyond repair.
We need to tell our stories and we NEED to be HEARD in Pierre!
11 provider agencies will be addressing the legislators. I also believe Parent-Connection is involved.
I believe Districts 9, 11 and 12 will be the main panel, but in the previous Cracker-Barrels, other legislators attended as spectators.
Personal comments: Services that help special needs kids, adults and their families are more precious than I can say. I know we are in a tough budget time, and self-reliance is the watchword, but if I might try to open just a bit of a window on our lives:
We are not lazy or irresponsible people. We are often exhausted people and our looks show it.
Self-reliance means coming up with the income to support our loved ones, then coming home and trying to run what amounts to a clinic. Few if any people have the mix of high paying job and high medical/therapeutic skill to pull that off without help.
Moralizing about our efforts can sound like a curse. Most of us, when our kids first began to act "different," heard comments like, "You just need to get that kid in line. I would have fixed that with a swat across the butt." Believe me, if something that easy would fix our lives, we would have been swattin' years ago.
We truly, truly appreciate the sacrificial generosity of others, given privately or through public programs. None of it "solves" our struggle, but it sure makes it easier to pull off.
So anything, absolutely anything that can be preserved in the way of special needs funding in this state will be a blessing to many hard working, responsible families.