Monday, September 21, 2009

California Budget Woes to Leave Families Without Respite

CONTRA COSTA, Calif. -- With a 2-year-old son suffering from a genetic disorder that leaves him vulnerable to accidents, Tarzana residents Lance and Samantha Reiss rely heavily on a state-funded program that helps them care for the boy while raising two other children.
Until a month ago, the Reiss family received 130 hours a month of state-funded respite care under a program that helps families raise disabled children.
But after the state's latest round of budget cuts, the family's respite care hours were reduced to 50 and are expected to be eliminated altogether by Oct. 14.
The Reisses are among thousands of families with developmentally disabled children who are beginning to feel the pain of the state budget cuts. Without these services, families might need to place their children in institutions where care is more expensive and inadequate, disability advocates say.
The cuts come as the number of people served by DDS has grown from 146,000 in 1997 to more than 240,000 today.

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