On November 1st, Governor Hickenlooper released his proposed 2013-2014 budget, which paints a brighter picture for Colorado than we’ve seen in some time. Some highlights are below, and a more in depth analysis released by the Governor’s office is available here. The full budget is also available here for your review.
Of particular interest to all of us at The Arc is the Governor’s proposal to fund services to 809 additional people with developmental disabilities. Among those, approximately 140 would be for emergency placement, children aging out of foster care and children aging out of the Children’s Extensive Services (CES) Waiver; 576 resources for children on the CES wait list, and 93 resources for adults over the age of 50 on the wait list for the Developmental Disabilities Comprehensive Waiver. Additionally, the Governor's budget includes $1.8 million in additional funding for Early Intervention (EI) and EI case management, as well as a 1.5% rate increase for Developmental Disabilities service providers.
Other areas of the Human Services budget that will see improvement include funding for expanded behavioral support for persons who require crisis intervention and prevention; expansion of Assertive Community Treatment programs for persons with mental illness, expanded support for the Area Agencies on aging and 1.7% cost of living increase in the OAP.
We are grateful to Governor Hickenlooper, Directors Reggie Bicha (DHS) and Sue Birch (HCPF) for their leadership in acknowledging that services for persons with disabilities and those who require mental health support are among the top budget priorities for 2-13-14. The administration’s proposal is a vivid reminder of the value of our collective, persistent advocacy and the power of your stories. Thank you for sharing them with us, as we strive to be effective advocates on behalf of the entire Arc Community.
The Governor will formally present the proposal to the Joint Budget Committee on Nov. 14 at 1:30 pm in Legal Services Building A. The JBC will hold a briefing on the DHS—DD budget on Dec. 13 from 1:30-4:30 pm; the HCPF briefing will be Dec. 19, 1:30-5 pm. Though the process is far from complete, we believe that the Governor’s leadership sets an important tone for the coming discussions that will surround the budget, and we are hopeful that 2013-2014 will see positive change for people with I/DD and their families.