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Your Views: Wisconsin might change disability services severely

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August 11, 2014

My 26-year-old daughter Kathleen is lovely, funny and one of the happiest humans on this planet. She also has severe developmental disabilities. Kathleen spends every weekday at VIP Services in Elkhorn. She works on fitness and communication goals each day and makes frequent trips with her friends to places within the community. As a result of her wonderful program at VIP, she is learning what the world is about and how she contributes to it.

Kathleen does not have the physical or cognitive abilities to work at a job in any setting. Without her day program at VIP, she would need to spend most of her days at home in the company of one paid caregiver at a time because my husband and I work full time. Her life would more closely resemble that of a 96-year-old with round-the-clock care than a vibrant 26-year-old.

That scenario is exactly what is being proposed in a draft Family Care Home and Community Based Services Transition Plan for Wisconsin. The plan would deny funding to any organization that provides services in a setting with mainly disabled people. It would cause places such as VIP to shut down most of their programs.

Most people are unaware of these proposed changes, and the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services is dangerously close to approving them. The individuals who will be hurt by this are the ones who cannot speak for themselves. Kathleen needs your voice!

JoANNE TULLY

Delavan



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