For almost forty years in California, the Lanterman Act has helped people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by providing a network of centers that offer specialized care. Hundreds of thousands of individuals with I/DD depend on the Act for the support they need to lead independent lives. Now advocates, including state senators and assemblymen, are calling for an increase in funding for the Act.
The advocate group, calling themselves the Lanterman Act Coalition, is seeking an 8% increase in funding for the Act. This increase included $290 million to restore and stabilize the system. Instead of an 8% increase, the governor's revision of the state budget included an increase of only 4.85%. Advocates state that a further increase is needed in order to ensure that individuals with I/DD have the ability to live full, integrated lives and that their caretakers are paid a living wage.
As it currently stands, the support structure for individuals with I/DD in California is lacking. Almost half of providers have to waitlist or turn away individuals seeking services. This leads to many people being denied the care they need. The amount of available services has been declining with an estimated 28,000 programs having closed in the last few years. Funding shortages result in individuals languishing on waiting lists and programs encountering problems hiring professional staff.
Parents of individuals with I/DD support the increase in funding. Many parents have experienced great strides being made to help their children while they are in school but fear for the future when their children become adults. The lack of adequate supports can lead to more pressure on parents.
In addition, many individuals with I/DD have been involved in their support programs for decades. The people that care for them have been like family. As more programs close or move, these individuals face a great upheaval in their lives, which can be detrimental to their success. It is clear that this increase in funding is crucial to the successful support of individuals with I/DD.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.
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