TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – $22 million will be cut from intellectual and disability disorder (I/DD) services in Kansas.
The funding was supposed to be given to providers on Wednesday, July 1, 2020; at the start of the new fiscal year. However, not even a week before that date, providers found out the money was cut by Governor Kelly and her budget administration. The cut has left many providers struggling to make up the lost money in an extremely short amount of time.
Kansas I/DD advocacy organization, InterHab, is asking people to write or call the Governor’s office or share on social media and ask that the funding not be cut.
“The amount of energy that has to go into professionals providing that support during the pandemic, we’re going to see the failing of this provider network if they don’t receive support,” explained Matt Fletcher, Executive Director of InterHab.
Fletcher adds that I/DD resources have been underfunded for decades and many providers were just barely hanging on prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said much of the $22 million was to go to salaries for trained workers, without the money, those workers will likely leave the state or the profession.
“I think we’re going to see organizations start to fail,” said Fletcher. “We’ve already seen, even before the pandemic hit, a number of small providers shutter their doors because they were no longer able to afford to continue to provide these services.”
In a letter to the Governor, Jane L. Eby said, “My daughter is scheduled to move from my home to a group home for I/DD in July. It is alarming to think of how this funding cut might lower the quality of care she will receive…Please do not put my daughter and other persons with disabilities who need help with all activities of daily living at risk by cutting their funding.”
In her letter, Laura Kust said, “I live with my parents, but they are too old to do all of the physical care that I need. I will be moving to an independent living facility. If you cut funding for these services, I might not get as good quality services as I need.”
Read the full letters from Jane and Laura below.
According to Fletcher, InterHab provided the Governor’s office with alternate budget cut options that would save the I/DD funding, however they have not heard back from the Governor.
Find more information on the push to retain funding here.