People with intellectual disabilities deserve a chance to build a life

This year’s complicated and difficult process to develop a state budget has inflicted disproportionate injury on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. While the protracted negotiations continue, young graduates from our public schools have been forced to sit at home in state-imposed isolation, as there is no funding for the critical and longstanding Employment and Day Services program. As difficult as this has been, there is some reason for hope.

It can’t be business as usual in Connecticut

In its 92 years, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has been a steady resource throughout the Greater Hartford region despite the rise and fall of the economy. We have been through uncertain times before:  the Great Depression… the oil crisis of the 70s and the recession that followed… the dot com bubble burst of 2001, and the 2008 Great Recession. While this fiscal uncertainty is not new, our response must be.  It cannot be business as usual. 

Proposed budget cuts will affect services to intellectually disabled

Imminent state budget cuts means that the hours of staffing that will be lost, the transportation funding that will disappear, the recreation dollars that will not be available, will remove choice and opportunity from the people we serve. These cuts will set our profession back decades in terms of equality, civil rights and equal access for people with intellectual disabilities.

Time for Connecticut lawmakers to do the right thing for the disabled

Connecticut’s legislature, on a bi-partisan basis, has so far failed to do its most important job — adopt a budget. In response, the Gov. Dannel Malloy implemented an executive order to keep the state running that minimized its impact on the State’s Department of Developmental Services employees while devastating our most vulnerable citizens. Leaders can attempt to minimize the amount of damage inflicted, but if you are an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), this executive order is the shut off notice from the electric company.

Budget solution: Change the way Connecticut provides services

Let’s start with the harsh reality: beginning the new fiscal year without a state budget will result in human services agencies across Connecticut cutting services and closing doors. Yet since January, leaders of community nonprofits have offered a way to save $300 million over the biennium while re-investing that savings to people in need, by shifting more services from more expensive state government agencies into the nonprofit sector.

Will our children become casualties in the state budget battle?

Any family enduring a budget crisis is faced with a difficult task — prioritizing where to cut back on expenses. They must decide which expenses are unnecessary, which can safely be postponed, and finally, which are absolutely essential. Ultimately, the new sofa will be cancelled and replacing the tires on the family car will be delayed. These sacrifices will be made for one reason: to ensure money is available to pay for what is essential, such as food, rent, or life-saving medications for their children. The governor and state legislature of Connecticut currently face a similar task.

Proposed federal cuts jeopardize programs that save children’s lives

In the time since the Trump administration released its budget proposal, many have raised alarms about cuts to well-known, popular programs and agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASA. What’s gotten less attention is that the administration’s proposed budget also includes cuts to programs that help children facing adversity to become successful, productive adults.

Why keep a ‘promise’ that hurts birth mothers?

One of the most persistent myths surrounding adoption is that birth mothers like me were “promised” privacy to hide the shame of having had sex (and getting caught at it). Single pregnant women like me had few viable options, and did not consider the relinquishment of our child an exchange for the promise of privacy. Senate Bill 977 extends an existing 2014 law to pre-1983 adult adoptees to restore the right to an original birth certificate to all Connecticut adoptees. Let’s keep it in the family, between those personally affected, where it belongs.

Fair housing rule needs to be used everywhere, not weakened

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and fair housing policy are lifelines to low income families and people of color who have been crowded into low opportunity neighborhoods in cities like Hartford. AFFH is under attack from both the Trump administration and Congress. Dr. Ben Carson, the current Secretary of HUD, has gone on the record against AFFH, stating that it relies on a “tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws” to effect change. AFFH. We need HUD and the federal government to use these rules, not repeal them.

Legislators must approve family medical leave bill

This past January, Connecticut lawmakers introduced two paid family and medical leave bills: Senate Bill No. 1 and House Bill No. 6212: An Act Concerning Earned Family and Medical Leave. The legislation passed through the Labor Committee successfully in March, but since then supporters of paid family leave have anxiously awaited further action from the Assembly. With less than a month to go before Connecticut legislators adjourn for the summer, Connecticut citizens need to demand that our representatives take action on these bills and pass paid family and medical leave in Connecticut.

Financial storms might to blow the roof off CT’s housing program

We in Connecticut — the agencies that create the homes and provide the support services for homeless veterans, young people and families; the government officials and philanthropies who fund and coordinate the massive effort — are national leaders. The structure we have built over more than a decade is producing outcomes, saving lives and public dollars at the same time. So what’s the problem? The fiscal storms blowing out of Washington and Hartford now threaten to blow the roof off of that system.

Give her and other Connecticut adoptees back their identities

My birth certificate is a legal lie.

What’s true on it is that I was born at 4:44 a.m. Oct. 27, 1967. It’s also true I was born in Norwalk Hospital. And I’m guessing that Eric G. Norrington, MD, who’s listed as the attending physician, really was there.

What’s not true are the names typed in all caps under “Full Name of the Child’s Mother and Father.”