Advocates Met With Legislators Tuesday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 was Advocacy Day at the Capitol, the day self-advocates and families walk the halls and meet with their legislators face to face and share information on the need for home and community based services.  Throughout the day advocates arrived, received information, briefings and updates, and then went to meetings with their legislators or pulled them off the House or Senate floor.  The following legislators received visits: Senators Judson Hill, David Shafer, Don Balfour, Rick Jeffares, and Gloria Butler.

Advocates felt that their concerns were well-received.

One self-advocate reported, "Senator Hill sent me an email thanking me for visiting and saying he will do all he can to make sure there's funding for people like me to stay in our communities.

" On the House side, people met with Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Representatives Don Parsons, Andy Welch, BJ Pak, David Casas, Roger Bruce, Karla Drenner, and others.  Advocates thanked their legislatures, and in many cases, legislators thanked the advocates and family members for the work they do, the information they share and the care they provide for family members while they wait for support.

A few meetings were tearful. Advocates wanted legislators to understand that even though the Department of Justice settlement agreement did result in funds being put in the budget for family support and crisis services, there are no waivers for people who are in the community and who may become vulnerable because their caregiver becomes unable to provide support.  Unlock is asking for 100 waivers in the FY 2011 budget and an array of services in the FY 2012 budget that includes waivers for people living with aging caregivers, teens aging out of DFCS or out of high school.

Over 2,000 people are registered for Disability Day at the Capitol next Thursday so lots more conversations will occur there, even in the midst of the crowd!

Thank you to all the advocates who took time to come to the Capitol, and thanks to all the legislators who took time out to listen to their constituents.  If you were there, we’d love to hear your news.  Just post a comment below.