State Budget Woes Force Cuts to UCP Family Support Program

January 14, 2009 at 1:16 am 1 comment

Program serves people with severe disabilities

The state has notified non-profit disability service providers that the Tennessee Family Support Program, which is the state’s only program serving persons with certain types of severe disabilities, has been cut in the amount of one million dollars for the current fiscal year. Reductions are projected at two million dollars in the next fiscal year.

United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee holds the state contract for services in Rutherford County. According to Rutherford County Family Support Program Coordinator, Laura Crain, the agency is faced with decreasing services to families in the amount of $34,461 between now and June 30, 2009. “It is extremely difficult to make these cuts,” says Crain, “Rutherford County is the fastest growing community in the state. The Family Support allocations are based on census data, but we haven’t had a new census recently, so our original allocation is low in comparison to the rest of the state. We have a long waiting list for services in Rutherford County. Our volunteer based council had already reduced allocations to individuals in order to accommodate some people with extreme needs on the waiting list. Now we have to make even further reductions.”

UCP Executive Director Deana Claiborne acknowledges that the state’s budget shortfall required immediate action, but she says the state could have found more strategic ways to cut funds. “Family Support provides essential assistance to the state’s most underserved disability populations. In most other states, there is a far more comprehensive array of home and community based Medicaid Wavier services for these groups, particularly for children and young adults with developmental disabilities like cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, and other severe lifelong conditions.”

The Rutherford County Family Support program is now serving 192 persons. The program gives priority to children with developmental disabilities who are not served in the Tennessee Division of Mental Retardation Medicaid Waiver programs. Claiborne notes that while Family Support has always served a large number of people with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, the largest growing population in need in Rutherford County includes children with autism.

“We can only hope that donors in Rutherford County will step up and make private contributions to help these families,” says Crain. Contributions to United Cerebral Palsy are tax deductible.

Contact: Deana Claiborne, Executive Director
Deana_Claiborne@ucpnashville.org
United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee
1200 9th Avenue North, Suite 110
Nashville TN 37208
615-242-4091

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Entry filed under: General, News, Public Policy.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Patrick at UCP  |  January 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I’m sure this kind of thing will only get more common as the year goes on. It’s going to be a tough year for people with disabilities.

    Reply

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