The State Budget Needs To Do More To Protect The Vulnerable

There are currently more than 11,000 individuals on a waiting list seeking services from the Office For Persons With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). It is not acceptable that an individual must be in crisis to receive the services he or she needs and deserves. It is time for the state to show a true commitment to provide care for all of New York's citizens who need it and allocate the resources to make sure individuals are safe and well cared for.

The Governor's budget proposal includes $120 million in new funding to expand services to the population served by OPWDD, but the budget has provided no details on where this money will be spent. This funding should include investments in state operated services including increasing available respite services in communities, expanding public options that will help alleviate the number of individuals on waiting lists and stop the closures of community based residential services and the state's developmental centers.

We cannot accept the continued budget-driven misinterpretation of the Olmstead Decision that has resulted in the decimation of treatment and rehabilitation options for individuals with developmental disabilities. The lack of available options for families waiting for services is unacceptable. Mario Cilento, President