We are two proud Dane County moms. Our children have grown up in Madison. One is set to graduate in spring, the other is serving an internship at the VA Hospital. Both have developmental disabilities.
We are also proud of Dane County's history of support that makes the community participation of our children possible. Many adults with disabilities who need support live and work in our communities, but growing waiting lists and shrinking budgets have drastically affected the ability to support people with long-term needs. In Dane County alone there are 314 adults on a waiting list for support. The wait can be 10 years or more.
In 1998 Gov. Tommy Thompson rolled out a model designed to end waiting lists. The Family Care program and later the IRIS program ended the wait in most Wisconsin counties. While not perfect, this system has reduced costly institutional care.
Today the state's budget committee will vote on whether to freeze community long-term care, which would make our children and thousands of others wait indefinitely. The money is there to lift this cap. We ask the Legislature to lift the cap on community long-term care.
A report on the issue by the Survival Coalition, more than 40 disability organizations statewide, can be viewed at http://bit.ly/jeWylp.
- Beth Swedeen, executive director, Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities; and Barbara Katz, co-director, Family Voices of Wisconsin, both of Madison