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Rebecca shows state cuts inhumane
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 6/27/2009 12:00 AM

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My brother, Jay, and his wife, Karla, both work in the Washington, D.C. area. Together, they make a decent living. They have three children less than 5 years old. Their 4-year-old, Rebecca, was born prematurely at only 2 pounds 12 ounces. Because she was so small at birth, she has physical and learning disabilities.

Twice a week, an aide comes to their home to work with Rebecca on her fine and gross motor skills. She also attends a special preschool. All of this is paid for by the state of Virginia. Although Jay and Karla make a good living, the cost of Rebecca's extra care would wipe out their savings, and ruin them financially.

In the state of Illinois, our esteemed legislators are proposing a 50 percent budget cut to our state's human services department. This cut will DEVASTATE Illinois families with special needs children. Currently, families with special needs children receive what's called home-based service, or are on a "Children's Waiver Plan." It's a system that pays for services like Rebecca receives. Much like the policy in Virginia (for Rebecca), Illinois' policy includes Medicaid for special needs children, based on the disability, not on the family's income.

One parent this 50 percent cut would impact told me, "It's inhumane."

She said, "If you can't get these kids the services they need now, it's a ripple effect, and you'll have thousands of adults who lack the skills they need to be productive members of society in the future."

We cannot cut these programs. It's just common sense.

Dawn DeSart