Imagine this: You are the proud parents of a newborn baby. She is beautiful, but she isn't perfect. She was born with a genetic condition that you didn't even know you were a carrier for, and she is very sick. The medical bills are astronomical. You watch your baby endure surgeries and procedures that make you sick with worry. Thank heavens you have access to Children's Special Health Services. They are able to help you manage the demanding medical needs of your child. Unfortunately, the clinic that helps your family is one of EIGHT that Bobby Jindal decided to cut out of the state budget.
Imagine this: You are me. Your 18 month old son is suspected to have autism. You aren't sure, but you do know this: he has significant communication and social skills delays. So, you turn to your pediatrician who refers you to Early Steps, and suddenly you have a developmental psychologist, a pediatrician, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and a floor time therapist as part of Team Noah. That's great. Except that no one talks to each other. OT and Speech could be working together, but it's not happening, and you're losing valuable opportunities to help your baby. So, you pick up the phone and call Individual and Family Support services. You are assigned a case worker who calls routine meetings with the entire team and coordinates the work being done between them. When you feel that your speech therapist isn't the right fit, your case worker finds you a new one. You hope that she won't lose her job because of the $950,000.00 cut that Gov. Jindal just made to Ind. and Family Support Services.
I could go on. I could share with you the stories of families across the state who are devastated by Gov. Bobby Jindal's callous disregard for Louisiana citizens with disabilities. However, for some of them, the situation is so bleak that I'm afraid my words won't do them justice. Instead, let me share with you, in brief, what Jindal has done:
Apparently, Bobby didn't expect the families affected to speak up. I guess he thought that we would smile about a balanced budget, just like the general population, who, by the way, would be unaware of the majority of these cuts if not for our voices. He underestimated us.
Gov. Jindal has issued a press release about these cuts. Since I choose not to lie on my blog, I won't reprint it here, but you can click this link to read it. Go ahead--I'll wait.
Now, in response to Gov. Jindal's statements--here is what parents across the state know to be the truth, minus the political spin:
***Since the Jindal administration, Families Helping Families has been cut by 40%
***The $250,000 stripped from LaTAN was NOT for expansion--it was for continuation of services
***Contrary to Gov. Jindal's statements, the NOW slots were NOT an expansion of services. Services will remain the same. These slots were the result of legislators trying to reduce the waiting list (10,000 people waiting for approximately 8 years each). When Jindal took office in 2008, there were 2,025 NOW slots available from the previous administration. He added nothing in 2009. He funded 150 slots in 2010, 0 in 2011, and 0 in 2012. Remember guys--families are waiting YEARS for help.
Here's what LaTAN had to say--http://theadvocate.com/home/6340964-125/latan-asks-governor-to-continue
So what can you do? Well, you can do a couple of things to help.
First, click this link to sign a petition asking legislators to call a special veto session. This isn't asking for an over ride of Jindal's vetos--this is just about telling Congress that you want them to take another look.
Next, call your representatives! We need them to hear from everyone! Tell them that you want them to call a special veto session. Here's is a link to find your representatives' contact information:
Thank you for helping to make sure our families aren't written off!