The Arc of PA and PARF held a legislative rally in Harrisburg at the capital on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. The rally was in support of adequate funding for people with disabilities to demonstrate public support for adequate funding for community programs for people with disabilities. Several Staff and self advocates from The Arc of Montgomery, Berks & Bucks Counties attended.

The rally called for legislature to fund increases to meet emergency needs for individuals with disabilities. The Arc of PA distributed information explaining the need. Unless the legislature acts now to add funding to the state budget proposals, funding for PA community-based services for individuals with developmental disablement.
Issues include:

Over 700 young people are leaving special education and transitioning to adult life. Significant tax dollars have been invested in the special education system over a lifetime for these young people, yet the governor’s budget proposes to serve only 100 of these individuals. Without adult services, these individuals will lose skills they have developed and placed on long waiting lists for services.

Pa Waiting List Campaign’s goal is to end the devastation of Waiting Lists for persons who are in need of services through the PA Office of Developmental Programs Mental Retardation and Bureau of Autism Services. There is no real waiting list initiative in the proposed FY 2010-2011 budget! As of March 31, 2010 there are 17,814 people with intellectual disabilities waiting for services across PA with 3,252 on the emergency list, 8,648 individuals on the critical list and 5,914 on the planning list. In our area the amounts are as follows: Berks County- 183 critical, 128 emergency, 139 planning for a total of 450; Bucks County – 205 critical, 46 emergency, and 232 planning for a total of 483; and Montgomery County – 479 critical, 173 emergency and 265 planning for a total of 917.

The PA waiting list campaign asks for a meaningful Waiting List initiative to serve 849 people. Provide services for all of the individuals with aging care givers in the Emergency category, Increase funding by $835,000 to provide day supports for 400 additional high school graduates. Allocate $1.3million for young people aging out of Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Services.

The Emergency Waiting List for individuals with disabilities will grow significantly as a result of the failure to meet the real and urgent need of thousands of Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

The Waiting List Campaign thanks and applauds all the leaders acroos the state who continue to support our mission and goals.

PA Senator Michael O’Pake from Berks County and PA House Representative Thomas Murt from Montgomery County support our efforts and both spoke at the rally.