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EI Budget Cuts

EI Budget Cuts

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Proposed letter to Gov. Paterson
and
Background on the proposed budget cuts
Proposed letter to Gov. Paterson
and
Background on the proposed budget cuts

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Published by: NAA NYC Metro Chapter on Feb 24, 2010
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02/24/2010

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Governor Paterson: I am writing to you to express my deep opposition to the changes proposed for sp ecial education and Early

Intervention outlined in your budget, which you pledge d to enact in your State-of-the-State address. The proposed New York State Budge t will seriously adversely affect the provision of Early Intervention Services t o the children of New York State . Effective early intervention has a demonstrated track record of positively affec ting the long-term outcomes of children with developmental delays and special ne eds, yet you propose a raft of policy changes that will result in fewer services for the kids who need it most. This proposal would: --force many families to lose services that help children develop during the cri tical early years. --would seriously burden families. --result in the loss of qualified and experienced EI providers. --add to unemployment, as your new provider approval/reapproval process would se riously threaten the ability of independent practitioners to continue to provide EI services. --eliminate consumer choice of providers. This is dangerous as the direct relati onship between the therapist and child is essential in successful outcomes for t hese children. --make it difficult to adhere to the laws requiring children to be seen in their natural environment. Your budget and other proposals are a direct threat to the future of every child , both those with special needs and those without special needs who have to shar e resources. These changes if enacted will not only affect the type and quality of services that can be provided to the children with special needs, but it will also add financial burden for families and providers. No consideration seems to be given to the long-term effects the cutbacks will ha ve on children, nor that the demand for Early Intervention and special education increase by 10-15% every year due to the growing number of children on the auti sm spectrum. Our Early Intervention program is wonderful, but still needs some i mprovements, NOT DISMANTLING. I urge you to reconsider these proposals and look for other ways to address the budget shortfall. Sincerely, YOUR NAME CITY , STATE ----------------------BACKGROUND The New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) is part of the national Earl y Intervention Program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their fami lies. First created by Congress in 1986 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the EIP is administered by the New York State Department of Healt h through the Bureau of Early Intervention. New York's Early Intervention program provides free services to 0-3-year-old chi ldren who have developmental delays or disabilities. To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a co nfirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State, in one or more of the following areas of development: physical, cognitive, commu

nication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive. The Early Intervention Program offers a variety of therapeutic and support servi ces to eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, inclu ding: speech pathology and audiology occupational therapy physical therapy family education and counseling, home visits, and parent support special instruction psychological services service coordination nursing services nutrition services social work services vision services assistive technology devices and services CURRENT PROPOSED EARLY INTERVENTION REFORM The proposed New York State Budget will seriously adversely affect the provision of Early Intervention Services to the children of New York State . Establish an Early Intervention Parental Fee. Historically the Early Interventio n program has been carried out at no cost to the family. Parental fees would be established ranging from $45 to $540. This jeopardizes vulnerable children's acc ess to needed services. Families earning as little as 161% of the federal povert y level ($29,000 for a family of 3) would have to make monthly payments for each eligible child. If a family missed even one payment, the child would lose Early Intervention services and become ineligible for Early Intervention. Families wh o are unable to provide proof of income would have to pay the highest amount, in cluding children whose families are homeless or children who are in foster care. Establish more stringent eligibility criteria. More kids would not receive serv ices, forcing the school system to deal with the growing number of special needs kids. Eliminating choices for a child's service provider. This is dangerous as the dir ect relationship between the therapist and child is essential in successful outc omes for these children. Revise Early Intervention Home and Facility-based Rates. Rates for home-based vi sits would be decreased, and the rates for facility or clinical-based services w ould be increased. This would make it difficult to adhere to the laws requiring children to be seen in the natural environment, and it will also result in the l oss of qualified and experienced EI providers and add to unemployment. Requires all EI service providers in the State become a Medicaid provider. All s ervice providers will be required to directly bill claims for children enrolled in Medicaid as well as those dually eligible for Medicaid and private insurance. (Currently each municipality is responsible for billing third party payers and M edicaid). This will make it very difficult for independent providers and small a gencies to participate in the program due to complex administrative and paperwor k requirements. It will result in a loss of experienced, knowledgeable providers . Allow Paraprofessional Behavioral Aides for Children with Severe Disabilities. P araprofessional behavioral aides would be allowed to deliver applied behavioral analysis intervention programs to children with autism spectrum disorders and ot her severe disabilities. Rather than fully masterâ s level certified level special education teachers, this may result in less effective outcomes and will allow th e least qualified providers to serve the most significantly needy children and f amilies. A new provider approval/reapproval process. It will seriously threaten the abili ty of independent practitioners to continue to provide Early Intervention servic es and eliminates consumer choice of providers. It would allow the NY Department

of Health to limit the number of Early Intervention providers, making it more d ifficult for parents to find qualified providers in their communities. His proposal to charge for Early Intervention services nearly made me cry. It is a wonderful, amazing program that still needs improvement, not dismantling. Plu s, his proposal to cut school spending combined with the above indicates that Go vernor Paterson is just making poor decisions. These are our children. They are the adults who will be his doctor, lawyer, accountant, nurse, etc. in the future . For more information and updates on what you can do to oppose this proposal, con tact Randi Levine at (212) 822-9532 or rlevine@advocatesforchildren.org Ellen McHugh Parent to Parent NY State www.parenttoparentnys.org 800-405-8818

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