As we reported in a previous post, many states are making drastic budget cuts due to the new economic conditions. The cuts are impacting schools, hospitals, and programs for children and adults with disabilities.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
"At least 15 states, including Alabama, Virginia and Massachusetts, are targeting such funding, mostly for programs that allow low-income shut-ins to receive personal care -- like cooking, cleaning and basic health services -- in their own homes, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning Washington, D.C. think tank that studies state budgets."
This week, New York's Governor Patterson proposed changes that will cut disability-related funding, according to WPTZ and WHAM.
LAURIE A. MARTINELLI, executive director, National Alliance on Mental Illness in Woburn, MA commented in a letter to the editor about cuts in Mental Health Services in Massachusetts in the Daily News Tribune.
What is a parent to do?
If you have never been an activist before, now is the time to become one. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Every citizen has access to our own legislators. To find out who your representatives are, go to Project Vote Smart to get their names. Most legislators have easy to locate email an office addresses. Write them, call them, and even better - meet with them.
2. Gather your friends together and go to your state Capitol when the budget is being debated. Talk to legislators.
3. Write letters to the editor of newspapers.
4. Find and join your local advocacy group that deals with your child's disability and work with them. There are all kinds of advocacy groups like the Arc, NAMI, and others.
5. Locate people you know who may have influence. Look for them at church, at PTA meetings, at work. Ask for their help.
6. Get involved in your own local political party activities. They are easy to find by simply googling the name of your county and your party.
It is in our best interest to all rally to fight budget cuts that are going to reduce services for people with disabilities.