To the Editor:
There is still no state budget, and we are nearly two full months into this fiscal year.
Agencies that provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities have been forced to close for two days so far this year because our funding agency, the Department of Developmental Services, has established furlough days in response to the Governor’s Resource Allocation Plan.
The majority of the individuals served by Bristol Adult Resource Center live in family homes, provider-run group homes or state-run homes. When BARC closed on July 26 and Aug. 23, families needed to provide alternative care for their family member with developmental disabilities. Private provider-run group homes scheduled extra staff due to the additional care needed, with no reimbursement from the state. I hope that state-run group homes were mindful of overtime costs but I do not know how their overtime is managed.
The furlough day originally scheduled for Sept. 27 has been cancelled, but there are still three additional days planned (October, February and April). These days were instituted to reduce funding without reducing daily rates, but they are extremely disruptive to all involved. Our individuals have a difficult time understanding when they cannot go to work or program, our staff are trying to make ends meet while losing pay, and our families are struggling to provide care when they too are working and trying to pay their bills.
I remain hopeful that the legislature will enact a responsible budget soon. The individuals we serve and their families deserve that.
Bristol Adult Resource Center