LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Albany is now finalizing that state budget, and slashes to care management programs are looming.
Some families with loved ones living with developmental or intellectual disabilities worry their case managers will have to go, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.
“Anything that deals with people who are handicapped is a price,” Gail Kennedy said.
The Kennedys of Levittown say they were blindsided by a proposed massive cut to funding for New Yokers with intellectual and developmental disabilities that would affect their 27-year-old son, Evan, who has cerebral palsy.
“We’ve have gone through these types of cuts, and have had to fight for these things, and usually we lose,” Gail said.
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Evan relies on mom, dad, and caregiver Paola Pichardo, who guides him through daily life five days a week.
“They are like my second family. We have been through a lot together. We are like a lifeline, he with me and I with him,” Pichardo said.
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing tough decisions in Albany. Coupled with last year’s cuts — a 39% funding reduction for the state’s seven regional care coordination organizations, who help line up and case manage for 120,000 marginalized state residents.
“To do this to a vulnerable population is really unconscionable. It is going to put more pressure on families,” said James Moran, CEO of Care Design NY.
An Albany spokeswoman said, “…the proposed adjustments to CCO programs will have no impact on services they provide New Yorkers … budget negotiations are ongoing …”
“There’s tons of places where they’re not going to cut,” Gail Kennedy said, adding, “and they have to look at people like my son and they have to see that he has to live every single day, and so do we.”
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The Kennedys, Gail and husband, Patrick, say they are getting older and worry about looming service cuts now and in the future.
Who will be around to help Evan and advocate for him?
“Fight like hell,” Evan Kennedy said.
“He’s everything. He is. He’s everything,” Gail Kennedy said.
The Kennedys want Evan with them, not in a group home, but they need funding to continue to help with his daily care.
Advocates say the state should use some of the funds from Washington to ensure care management programs for individuals with disabilities continue.