Saturday, February 25, 2012

Senator Mark DeSaulnier - State Budget Town Halls, Feb 23 and Feb 29

Senator Mark DeSaulnier, 7th District (Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Hercules, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, a portion of Richmond, Oakley, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek).is hosting:

State Budget Town Halls on

Thursday the Feb 23rd at the Lafayette Community Center (500 St. Mary’s Rd.) 7pm to 9pm

Wednesday the Feb 29th at the San Ramon City Council Chambers (2222 Camino Ramon), 7pm to 9pm

At each Town Hall the Senator will give a presentation about the State Budget and issues California is faced with, listening to this information will give you a broad perspective about our current situation in California. The Senator's presentation is always very informative.

After the presentation you may have the opportunity to tell the Senator how the current and continued cuts to the system for individuals with developmental disabilities has impacted you, your loved one, your work or your program. It is important that he hear from families as there is another $200 million proposed cut to the system for this year.
Senator DeSaulnier is the Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services, which hears bills and budget information regarding services to persons with disabilities, including those provided by regional centers and the state's developmental centers; in-home supportive services (IHSS); community care licensing; and, social services and rehabilitative services, in general.

Families often confide in me that they feel intimated to talk with their local officials. Don't be. Parents and people with developmental disabilities fought for rights under the Lanterman Act and those rights must be preserved. Don't be intimated, Senator DeSaulnier wants to hear your concerns! That is why he is an elected official.

Here are some talking points that may be helpful for you.
```````````This information has been adapted and condensed from the East Bay Legislative Town Hall meeting of Jan 2012.

1. Most children and adults with developmental disabilities live in the community saving the state millions of dollars. Changes to Early Start and the elimination of services to high risk infants impacts the families of the very young children, Family cost participation, Family Program Fees, state wide limits on respite/behavioral services and the elimination of socialization programs, camp and non medical therapies intensifies the stain on families! Children will not receive the needed intervention services which has been shown to produce positive outcomes which leads to the need for less intensive services in the future and paves the road a positive productive life as an adult. These services need to be sustained not cut.

2. The drastic cuts from previous years are eroding services for children and adults even more. What could help?
-restoring the 4.25% rate cut to Regional Centers and Service Provides,
-restoring Program Development Funds (services need to be developed as the need for programs grows in the community)
-restoring 10% reduction to MediCal providers including Intermediate Care Facilities and Supported Employment Programs may offer some relief and shore up a system that is crumbling.
When these services crumble the need for more intensive and costly services will be the outcome, not savings.

3. Taking a good look and all the new 'transparency' regulations may be prudent. Are these new regulations resulting in savings or just adding administrative work? Is this increase in work load producing savings or is it taking time away from the critical work that needs to be done to ensure that children, adults and families receive the services they need? If this oversight is needed because a few people or programs have done the wrong thing, maybe those people should have to comply with different standards not the whole system. Paying for additional assessment services to assess the needs of individuals in Supported Living, is going to be costly, has it saved any money?

3. Living in the community costs far less than living in a State Developmental Center. Can some reductions be made to that system as it serves far few people? Continued cuts to community services is not sustainable and the result will be the need for more costly, intensive services in the future. I think the old adage is a penny wise and a pound foolish?

4. Tell the Senator about how all this has impacted your family.

Additionally the Senator is having two mobile office hours’ events in the next two weeks. One is on Saturday the Feb 25th from 10am to 1pm at the Alcosta Senior Center in San Ramon (9300 Alcosta Blvd). The second will be on March 3rd at Orinda Intermediate School from 10 am to 1 pm. If you feel more comfortable one on one this may be an option for you!

Please contact Emlyn Struthers if you plan on attending any of the Town Halls.

Emlyn Struthers, District Representative
1350 Treat Blvd., Ste. 240
Walnut Creek, Ca 94597
P (925) 942-6082
F (925) 942-6087

More info HERE.
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