Posted from a News Release provided by The Arc of Tennessee:
November 4, 2011 - The Arc Tennessee Opposes the Elimination of the Family Support Program for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The Arc Tennessee received the devastating news at the budget hearing for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) on Friday, November 4, 2011 that the Family Support Program was eliminated from its 2012-2013 budget proposal.
Family Support is a state-funded program providing critical supports and services to over 4000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at an average of $1200-$1400 per individual/family for the minimal cost of $7.2 million per year.
The Family Support program boasts a high level of satisfaction among participants for flexibility in services and extreme cost effectiveness, but it has been funded with â€œnon-recurring dollars (i.e. rainy day funds) for the past several years. Departments were instructed to eliminate any program funded with non-recurring dollars.
Elimination of the Family Support program will severely impact the thousands of Tennesseans who use this small amount of funding to keep their family unit intact, to get services to help them work and live in their communities, and in many cases, simply survive day to day. The majority of the individuals receiving Family Support are either on waiting lists for other services or not eligible for other services at all. Elimination of this funding will only shift the costs to other government and public services including hospitals and emergency rooms, nursing homes, and jails.
Even in the toughest of economic times, the government has a responsibility to maintain the infrastructure that supports Tennessee 's most vulnerable citizens. The Family Support Program is a critical piece of that infrastructure that cannot be ignored.