Fight for WNYers with disabilities continues

Posted at 2:05 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 14:05:15-05

Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) and families with developmentally disabled children spoke to lawmakers about lack of funding plaguing programs they need at a meeting on Friday morning. 

Caregivers said they're getting older and need help caring for their children with disabilities but support services in New York State are hurting because they're poorly funded. 

The co-chair of DDAWNY, Kathy Bunce, says the fight for proper funding has been going strong for the past five years. 

"I know some agencies for respite have received a cut of 50 percent," said Bunce. "They're getting 50 percent less to pay for that service."

Bunce would also like the state to look at offering better wages to workers who help the disabled because most make between $8.50 an hour to $13.50 an hour, which is below the proposed minimum wage for fast food workers. 

Many local law-makers were at Friday's meeting listening to the real-life struggles families go through. 

Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, who represents the 142nd district, said sometimes local lawmakers' hands are tied.

"We always get the support we need from the Legislature. We passed bills last year unanimously but unfortunately we've seen a veto at the governor's level," said Kearns.

In past years the state budget has cut or leveled out funding for disability services.  

"We have the funding at the state level. We can do this," said Kearns. "It's just appropriating it and hopefully getting the support that we need."




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