01 Mar Help With Developmentally Disabled Adults Hard To Come By
Kathy and Stan Peters talk about retiring to Florida, but first, they must consider Sarah, their daughter with intellectual disabilities. She’s 28 and lives at home but wants her independence. Florida’s group home situation is dismal, and Connecticut — unless there’s an emergency in the family — has a growing waiting list and a complicated system, Kathy Peters says.
“I have a couple of master’s degrees, but trying to get through the system can be just exhausting,” she said.
The state Department of Developmental Services, the agency charged with the providing services for residents with intellectual disabilities, just released its five-year plan that concurs with Peters’ assessment. The department, with its $1 billion budget, is currently working in a system that is “unsustainable,” the report said. The old model — early intervention, special education, day programs for older residents — is too expensive.
The plan says this year’s budget devotes 62 percent to residential services. Roughly 20,000 state residents are eligible for services; 15,600 of those are older than age 3. After infants and toddlers registered in the birth-to-3 system, the majority of the state’s clientele are — like Sarah Peters —- beween the ages of 22 and 34. The next largest group is ages 45 to 54.