Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Sobering Look at ID/DD Services

Came across this piece from The New Republic by Harold Pollack, a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

Pardon my excursion into graphs and scatterplots today. There is a broader purpose.
Last Tuesday I hit the "send" button on a big grant concerned with intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) policy issues. Last Wednesday, the bible of the field, State of the States in Developmental Disabilities, appeared in my mailbox. Such is life.
State of the States is a periodic compendium of state policies, service patterns, and spending across the country. (It’s a telling commentary on the separation between disability policy and health policy wonkdom that few among the latter group even know that State of the States exists.) It has been a few years since David Braddock and his University of Colorado colleagues put out the last version of this book.
The 2011 edition extends previously-available data from 2006 to 2009. As such, it provides a sobering window into the human impact of the current recession. I/DD services serve a highly-valued, highly-vulnerable population. Yet these services are also quite costly, particularly to states and localities having difficulty carrying the load. States' different approaches to preserving or to cutting these services in hard fiscal times thus provides a real signal of states' larger values and vision of government.

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