Protect the Care of Californians with Special Needs & Developmental Disabilities

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Johnathon Thrasher
Johnathon Thrasher signed this petition

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
California State Governor
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Please Support an 8% Systemwide Rate Increase to the Developmental Disabilities system in the 2019-20 State Budget

Dear Governor Newsom;

I am a Californian who truly cares about the wellbeing of my fellow citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It’s been more than a decade since the Great Recession significantly impacted the funding for California’s developmental disabilities system. Since 2008, the cumulative budget cuts and inflationary impact to service providers who deliver programs to Californians with developmental disabilities has created a net shortfall of nearly $1.1 billion. Year after year, despite public outcry, the state has failed to address the desperately needed funding necessary to stabilize our neglected system of care for California’s most vulnerable citizens.

Governor Newsom, we urge you to support a critically needed 8% systemwide rate increase to service providers in the 2019-20 state budget. The 8% increase amounts to about $290 million of the $24.1 billion state budget surplus and would begin to stabilize California’s crumbling developmental disabilities system.

Please protect the safety-net of services for California’s 350,000 children, youth, and adults with special needs and developmental disabilities. The chronic lack of funding has created a major social justice issue. The woefully inadequate funding severely impacts the quality of life of California’s most vulnerable citizens and those who care for them. For example, as a result of the significant underfunding:

• An estimated 28,000 programs have closed across the state, causing significant waitlists for services.

• Adults with developmental disabilities living in state-funded group homes are being displaced without their consent, and being forced to move from their communities, their families and friends.

• The funding shortage means service providers are unable to recruit and retain dedicated and skilled direct care professionals to adequately staff the system.

• Nearly 35% of direct care professionals are on Medi-Cal, receiving public food assistance, or working second jobs to earn enough money to provide for themselves and their families.

Governor Newsom, you have the power to reverse this decade-long history of underfunding the needs of those with developmental disabilities.

By including $290 million in the general fund for the disabilities system you can keep the promise of the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act of 1977, and once again lead the nation in the fight for the equal rights and inclusion of those with IDD. When the Lanterman Act was passed, California became the birthplace of the American’s with Disabilities Act movement. We should be proud of our history and make sure we are in compliance with this powerful legislation that defines the service delivery system and safeguards the rights of those we care so much about.

We urge you to include an 8% increase in this year’s state budget. You can protect the care for our fellow Californians with developmental disabilities and ensure they have access to the services they need to live full and productive lives.

Thank you, Governor Newsom!

Sincerely,
Californians who care

#KeepThePromise  #ProtectOurCare  #DisabilityRights #StoptheInjustice #InclusionForAll #AcceptRespectInclude