Rep. Nardolillo Rails Against Governor’s Proposed Cuts Demands Funding for Programs that Support Disabled Individuals in Rhode Island
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Providence, RI - State Representative Robert Nardolillo III (R District 28 – Coventry) is calling for action against Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposed $18 million funding cut to programs for mentally and physically disabled citizens.
The administration has proposed a $400-million budget for the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals. However, this would include cutting spending by the Division of Developmental Disabilities on services provided by private organizations to individuals with disabilities from $238 million to $220 million. This has raised concerns that group homes, transportation providers, and work programs across the state could have fewer resources available in the coming year.
“The governor is asking for more money to provide less to our state’s most vulnerable population. It makes no sense to increase the overall budget while reducing funds for programs that benefit over 3,700 individuals with special needs,” stated Rep. Nardolillo.
Officials from BHDDH argue that the reductions are necessary because fewer individuals are living in private group homes. They claim that an initiative focused on moving people into lower cost community based living arrangements has reduced the need for this $18-million a year but families and advocates argue that is not the case.
During a rally at the State House, care-providers, families, and members of the disabled community expressed concerns about the potential harm these cuts could cause. Many, including members of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island which organized the event, argued that this reduction in funding could cost caretakers their jobs.
Rep. Nardolillo was fortunate enough to meet with members of the group and went on to say, “These people work hard to take care of our most vulnerable residents yet they may lose their jobs if there is not enough funding in the coming year. I also worry about the possible safety risks that come with having fewer staff on hand. The staff in these group homes care deeply for the individuals they serve but with fewer resources to draw on, some may not receive the proper care they need.”
“We must strive to do more for the disabled people of this state. For too long we have ignored their needs and asked the people who watch over them to make do with the bare minimum. This practice must stop and I urge my fellow legislators to join me in calling for the reinstatement of these funds. Together we can create a system that helps the developmentally disabled live and grow here in Rhode Island.
Ian O'Connor, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903