Leading provider of supports and services fears that many agencies will sharply curtail service and some may face closure should the across-the-board cuts go through
NYSARC Inc., the nation's largest nonprofit agency serving people with developmental disabilities, is urging the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve a final budget deal restoring $120 million in state funding to programs and services for people with developmental disabilities.
The reduction is a result of a 6 percent, across-the-board cut, which was contained in the governor's budget. When federal funds are included, the cut is $240 million.
"These cuts are catastrophic," said NYSARC's executive director, Marc Brandt. "They are in addition to the nearly $350 million in cuts developmental disabilities services have sustained over the past three years."
Agencies throughout New York state care for 126,000 individuals with developmental disabilities. It is the largest system of its kind in the nation.
Brandt said, "We expect that many agencies will sharply curtail service and some may face closure" as they are unable to meet payroll and pay for goods and services.
"Many of these agencies serve vulnerable people, some of whom are medically frail, many of whom require 24-hour care. We don't know what will happen with them. Many, particularly adults, have no families to step in should an agency fail. This is a recipe for disaster for this population."
Furthermore, Brandt added, the staffs that provides hands-on care "are already stretched to the breaking point from prior year cuts and a staggering onslaught of regulations.
"Seventy percent of all agency funding goes to pay these individuals. Simple math will force these employees to absorb layoffs, shortened hours and increased medical costs.
"Now, these cuts will push many of these staff beyond the breaking point. Many of people they care for will find their quality of care eroded and be exposed to far greater health and safety risks.
"The governor's Justice Center was aimed at enhancing the health and safety of the people we serve. We strongly support the Justice Center. However, we can't help but note that these cuts will undermine the primary aim of the Justice Center - to safeguard the people we serve.
"When New York state elected to build a large system of community-based care for people with developmental disabilities, it accepted a moral responsibility for decent care. Some argue that a system this large should never have been built. But, over decades, New York state built it. That reality won't go away. The state must continue to own up to its clear moral obligation to provide decent care to tens of thousands of people with developmental disabilities and their families. The state must eliminate this cut."
About NYSARC Inc.
NYSARC Inc. is the largest not-for-profit organization in New York state and the U.S. supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families. The 54 chapters comprising the family-led organization provide services in every county in New York. NYSARC Inc. supports more than 60,000 individuals, employs 30,000, and has a membership of more than 97,000 people.
To find your local chapter, visit http://www.nysarc.org.