FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton, Westport, Norwalk) and the General Assembly’s bipartisan Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus have unveiled their legislative priorities for the 2015 legislative session.
One priority for this legislative session is seeking substantial changes in the delivery of services and protection of pre-recession state funding levels for intellectually and developmentally disabled state residents and their families.
Lavielle and the 60-member bipartisan and bicameral I/DD caucus are supporting legislation designed to:
- close the state Department of Developmental Services’ Southbury Training School by 2020 and move its remaining 300-plus residents to community-based settings;
- shift all Southbury closure savings, $237,000 per person or upward of $75 million, to community-based settings to reduce or eliminate the waiting list of 2,000 disabled clients seeking supportive housing;
- evaluate the best use for the Southbury property and buildings and conduct an environmental assessment;
- restore and maintain DDS funding at pre-recession levels in the 2016-17 biennial state budget; and
- study the creation of a client trust fund for individual spend-down requirements.
“It is clear that Connecticut’s services to the I/DD population need significant improvement, in terms of both serving more people and taking into account their individual needs,” Lavielle said. “This agenda continues to chart a course toward improved and expanded community-based and residential services for those who thrive with increased active independence, while maintaining the option of institutional care for those who don’t. This is important, because there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone.”
The I/DD Caucus issued its goals before Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Feb. 18 biennial state budget address, which included proposals expected to impact health and human services spending in Connecticut.
The program would allow individuals with disabilities or their families to deposit funds that would be exempt from state income tax into an account to be used for education, healthcare, housing, transportation, employment support, assistive technology and other expenses.
The General Assembly’s Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee has voted to raise a committee bill based on this concept and a public hearing will be scheduled.
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