WNPR

Connecticut Urged To Change Approach To Developmental Disabilities

Jun 16, 2017

Advocates for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities say while the state is contemplating deep cuts to services, it’s also wasting money on inefficient provision of care. 

The governor’s budget proposal cuts funding for several programs including an employment placement service for school leavers, home-based behavioral supports for young people, and Medicaid programs that help people stay out of institutional care.

Tom Fiorentino, board president of advocacy group The Arc Connecticut, told WNPR's Where We Live the state’s reliance on group home settings is expensive and unnecessary, and it should be developing more community based services.

“They need to rebalance this system," said Fiorentino. "Other states are serving more people with fewer dollars because they are doing it in a more integrated-into-the-community way. If you’re spending $100,000 on someone in a group home, who can be served in their own apartment with staff at $40,000, why wouldn’t you do that? But we don’t do that – we are stuck.”

Laura Fucci from Milford has an adult daughter with intellectual disabilities and autism. She attends a day support system in the community. Fucci said she and many families she knows would suffer greatly if those supports are taken away.

“We’ve been investing so many dollars, taxpayer dollars on educating these young men and women to become independent as possible, to be contributors to our community, to be a part of our community," said Fucci. "And they’ll be sentenced to isolation, to being less than they should be productively, and they’ll decline.”

Legislators and the governor’s staff are in negotiations trying to reach a budget compromise to be presented to a special session. They need to plug a $5 billion gap over the next two years.