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.
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.
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.
ByRoy Berger, Eliot Brenner, Alice Forrester and Michael Patota |
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Connecticut’s legislature has proposed to create a task force to study the effectiveness, impact and cohesiveness of workforce development programs and initiatives in the state. The commitment to promote better coordination and collaboration and a more effective and efficient system for workforce development should be applauded. One of the first agenda items for the task force should be to identify and examine existing strategies that demonstrate cross-cutting, collaborative approaches to job training and employment and promise opportunity for residents who face the greatest challenges to obtaining a living wage.
Opioid overdose deaths continue to rise. A 2015 DEA report showed a greater than thousand-fold increase in fentanyls —potent synthetic opioids— showing up in intercepted drugs. This, more than anything, fuels our worsening crisis. The economics and pharmacology of fentanyl are game changers. Word on the street is buyer beware. What’s sold as heroin is probably fentanyl. What looks like a Xanax, Oxycodone, or Ativan could also be fentanyl.