Your action is needed now more than ever before.
The State of Georgia is undergoing a severe budgetary crisis due to COVID-19 and economic downturn. As part of the response to Governor Kemp’s required reduction of 11% in budget expenses, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) has proposed eliminating Family Supports for families with individuals who have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). Bobby Dodd Institute is the only provider of Intensive Family Support Services in the state, and the DBHDD has proposed cutting 100% of the $3 million budget used to ensure families have access to direct support professionals, community programs, respite, supplies and other much-needed services. Our program is the safety net for families while they are on the planning list for waivers.
We fear for our families. Currently, only about 10% of Georgians with disabilities receive any kind of service, including Family Support. With 6,500+ individuals waitlisted for waiver services, it is more incumbent than ever before that Intensive Family Support is funded, especially in 2021 when 0 new waivers are allocated. The proposed cuts act as a “double waitlist” leaving families with no services at all.
BDI is able to serve 21 individuals at a moderate level of services for what it costs the State to support one individual with a Comp waiver transitioning from a state hospital making the program very cost-effective. Most of our families already struggle to make ends meet, and taking away services means that our families’ struggles will worsen.
The good news is: you can take action to prevent this. The legislature returns to session June 15th. Welcome them with your voice.
See below for a list of ways you can make a powerful impact.
- Sign the petitions. The BDI petition provides an opportunity for you to include your zip code (this is important to legislators) and share your impact story.
- Contact legislators. Contacting legislators directly is powerful. Their decisions are based on feedback from their constituents. As elected officials, they are charged with representing your interests.
- First, find out who your elected officials are with this link: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/.
- Access your legislator’s web page and email/call their offices to let them know how reductions in funding to Family Support Services will affect your loved ones.
- Call the decision-makers. Legislators who serve on appropriations committees drive budget decisions. We’ve prepared a list of these key players below:
- Don’t forget the Governor
- Email: https://gov.georgia.gov/contact-us/constituent-services
- Call: 404-656-1776
- Develop your Family Impact Story. The best stories are short and sweet, revealing your loved one’s interests and goals and emphasizing the support they need to have an independent life. We can help you write it – contact Kylie Moore, Special Project Coordinator, for help.
- Share our message points through email, social media, and beyond! In particular, we need to share our message points with the businesses that provide us with services so they too can advocate. Invite your community allies to share their voices as well.
Together We Make a Difference.