(Note: Child in this article is a term meaning to range from kids to adults)
In 2007 state legislators voted to slice millions of dollars from FARC’s (Florida Association for Retarded Citizens) budget. The money that was given to FARC was distributed to families that had children with disabilities. The legislators devised a plan to divide the 31,000 people that are registered in FARC’s homes and community care programs into 4 groups (or tiers) and cap the amount of money that is given to them. The group that they are placed into is depending on the level of need they have and their previous payment records. As it stands right now the tiers are as follow. Tier 1: with no benefit limit has 3,261 people; tier 2: with a cap of $55,000 limit has 4,643 people; tier 3: with a cap of $35,000 has 7,053 people; and finally tier 4: with a cap of $35,000 has 14,460 people.
Before legislators decided to place them into groups, payments to families were based on what each mentally disabled child needed, as determined by medical assessments; there was no cap on the amount that was given to the families, it was all dependent on the child’s needs. Under the new system, only those with serious disabilities will continue to receive unlimited benefits. The others will be limited to between $15,000 and $55,000 per year. It depends on which group the child is put in.
One example of this is that according to the Tampa Tribune’s article on October 2, 2008, a family was receiving $60,000 a year to pay for services, medical, and other necessities that their daughter needed. However due to the new system, the amount of financial help that they were receiving is being cut in half.
Many parents can no longer support their child with disabilities. The article states that if a parent feels that they can no longer take care of their child then they can ask the state to put them in a group home. But when the state does that the taxpayers ultimately pay more. At home they were learning to live on their own through a program called “One step closer to Independence.” Through this program they were learning to do things on their own. Examples would be cooking, cleaning, and other necessities. One of the other programs that they can do is a day program through PARC (Pinellas association for retarded people) which shows people with mental disabilities how to work. They do jobs like putting together small boxes for medical companies. As a result of this program less money is needed to take care of them in the long run because they learn how to work and thrive on their own. This program is a tremendous success, however when they are placed in these group homes, the program is terminated for them and they become reliant on the people around them.
What are your thought on cutting funds from the Florida Association for Retarded Citizens budget?