Advocates, Senators and Delegates,
Thank you for all the work you do during session to improve our state. The Governor’s proposed budget this year included 755 Developmental Disability (DD) Waivers for people on the waiting list, split over the biennium. There were an additional 70 Waivers for people leaving Training Centers that waiting list families cannot access. Neither the House nor the Senate added additional Waivers.
In the mean time, the overall waiting list has risen to 12,366 people. 3,087 of them are in Priority One, meaning already in crisis. If we do not add Waivers to the budget, we will barely be meeting 10% of the crisis need each year. We will fail to keep pace with growth and fail our citizens with disabilities and their families.
Connor waited years for a Waiver, while having a brother also on the autism spectrum. Both boys had dangerous and challenging behaviors. Their mom had to wear a helmet whenever she was around her own children to try and manage the headbutting. Yet, they waited for years for any kind of help. This is what having people wait in crisis means. This story follows Connor’s journey from toddlerhood to adulthood, finally getting a Waiver, and the dramatic change it has made for him and his entire family.
Please think about Connor and the other families in your district as we finalize our budget. There are 2,1111 people in Fairfax alone on the waiting list, 661 in Prince William, 591 in Loudoun, 164 in Arlington, and 95 in Alexandria. Remember that not funding waivers costs us money in crisis supports, 911 calls from desperate parents managing dangerous behaviors, parents unable to work, and people with disabilities losing independence skills.
We urge you to work to ending the wait, and to start by funding Priority One of the waiting list.
Director of Advocacy