Action for Aubrey!

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Take action for Aubrey White and 14,000 Louisiana children on the Medicaid waiver waiting list by filling an additional 800 slots for just $4.1 million

Summer camps, aftercare, daycare, many full-time working parents in Louisiana depend on these childcare options to provide safe, happy and enriching environments for their children. Aubrey White’s parents, however, are out of options.

Aubrey, a four-year-old from Prairieville, was born 12 weeks premature at 1 pound 15 ounces, after her mother experienced a blood clot that resulted in an emergency delivery. After 16 weeks in the hospital, Aubrey was finally allowed to go home. However, the day her parents had been waiting for was also their first encounter with the childcare challenges they would face. When Aubrey came home from the hospital, there was a heart monitor and oxygen in tow.

Aubrey’s mother then faced challenges when she returned to work. With traditional daycare ruled out because the children with disabilities cannot be accepted, she began her search for services for her daughter. Aubrey’s mother soon realized that there was nothing available for her privately insured, medically fragile child.

While Aubrey made significant strides to catch up to her peers, at 18-months-old she experienced seizures that caused her to regress. Now autistic and non-verbal, Aubrey’s medical needs preclude her from attending traditional childcare facilities, presenting her full-time working parents with the challenge of arranging care for her, particularly during the summer months, holidays and other business hours. Due to lack of respite care services, her parents are forced use every minute of allotted time off for Aubrey’s care.

Before starting Pre-K at Prairieville Primary School this year, Aubrey’s parents paid family members out of pocket for childcare. But with the declining health of family members, they now have just one option: use all of their time off to care for Aubrey when school is out of session. This is not a viable option for working parents and it puts the very health insurance that alleviates Aubrey’s medical expenses at risk.

Aubrey is one of thousands of children on Louisiana’s waiver waiting list. To give Aubrey and other children like her access to much-needed respite care at their homes, an additional 800 slots for waiver services need to be filled. This would cost the state $4.15 million. The average cost of a waiver is less than half the cost of an Intermediate Care Facility, making it a viable option for both the state and hard-working families like Aubrey White’s.