Monday, December 28, 2009

Maryland Service System At Breaking Point

An incredibly thoughtful piece on a bleak situation in Maryland for people with developmental disabilities.

Because of chronic under-funding, thousands of families in Maryland are on waiting lists for services for their child with a developmental disabilities, and even those deemed to be in a state of crisis can be forced to wait years for services. Those who are in need of small breaks, like respite care to allow them to take a few hours off to attend to their own needs, can wind up waiting forever. Family members who care for relatives with developmental disabilities find themselves unable to work because they can't leave their charges alone. Others suffer physical consequences themselves from having to cope with homes that are not handicapped accessible. Some of the develomentally disabled regress - losing skills like walking and speech - because their families cannot afford therapy.
Despite major unmet needs, the state has been forced to cut funding for community support services for the developmentally disabled in the last year.
Maryland, despite its wealth, has lagged for years in services for its most vulnerable residents and those who give over their lives to care for them. The system is fast approaching a breaking point, but the state, caregivers and advocates should use that crisis as an opportunity to make sure Maryland lives up to the promise that all its citizens can live a life of freedom and dignity.

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