The following goals constitute MFOFC’s legislative focus for the 2011-2012 year:
* Supporting the expansion of resources available for students Turning 22 who are in need of adult services. Line item: 5920-5000
Young people with disabilities who are turning 22 today are in a unique position in history. They represent a generation who have grown up in their communities, have lived with their families, and have developed relationships with other children and community members. Many of these young people have been active in their communities and have had work experience. Some are looking forward to continuing their education in some form. Our state system of services is also in a unique position in history. There is an opportunity to capitalize on the education and experience of these young people. Turning 22 is funded at $5 million but, with 708 students, it requires $8 million total for 2012.
* Supporting the preservation and expansion of flexible Family Support services across the disability community. Line item: 5920-3000
Most people with disabilities in Massachusetts are cared for at home by their families who need flexible supports designed to supplement their natural ability to provide this care. Family support is a proven and cost-effective service that dramatically undercuts the potential costs to the state for out-of-home placement. Family support services currently represent a tiny percentage of EOHHS funding and are not broadly available across the disability spectrum. Restore Family Support which has been cut to $32 million. It should be funded at $50 million.
* Supporting the preservation and expansion of the DESE/DDS project. Line item: 5948-0012
This very successful effort to prevent residential placement has allowed families the support they need to continue to raise their sons and daughters at home and has also supported families to have their sons and daughters return home from residential placements to be educated in their local school systems. Restore funding to FY’09 level of $8 million total for 2012.
* Supporting employment funding. Line item: 5920-2025
These services are utilized by adults who continue to live at home or transitioned through Community First. For those at home, these services are the main supports an adult receives from the state. Assure employment funding for 2011 Turning 22 students with an additional $2.7 million for $126 million total.