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Statement of Values: Indiana Workers Recommend Dropping Kids

  • Posted on October 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Here’s another distraction from bullying:

Indiana’s budget crunch has become so severe that some state workers have suggested leaving severely disabled people at homeless shelters if they can't be cared for at home, parents and advocates said.

It’s all about the budget crunch.  No, really! 

Oh, wait…

But some families have been on waiting lists for waivers for 10 years. The lists contained more than 20,000 names last month, and one advocacy group predicted they will only grow longer because Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered budget cuts that have eliminated 2,000 waiver slots since July.

(emphasis added)

So, is it just me, or does that imply it’s not about the budget cuts at all?  Sure, the budget cuts are making for a longer waiting list because Governor Mitch Daniels doesn’t care enough to find another solution.  But, really?  Waiting 10 years for services.  And this is just becoming a problem now?  I don’t think so!

Budget cuts also have resulted in the state moving foster children with disabilities to a lower cost program that doesn't provide services for special needs and eliminating a grocery benefit for hundreds of developmentally disabled adults.

See, maybe it’s just me.  But I see this and I don’t start thinking, “Oh, Indiana must be really hard-up for cash!”  No, I start thinking that Indiana’s government doesn’t care about people with disabilities.  That—in Indiana—people with disabilities just aren’t worth spending money on.

Maybe it’s just me.  Or maybe…

Maybe environmentally-friendly roads are more important than people with disabilities.

Or maybe holding onto their cash is more important than people with disabilities.

Maybe the election season is just too damned important to give the people of Indiana the services they need to survive.

Some parents said homeless shelters have also been suggested - or threatened - as an option by private care providers.

Daunna Minnich of Bloomington said Indiana Department of Education funding for residential treatment for her 18-year-old daughter, Sabrina, is due to run out Sunday. She said officials at Damar Services Inc. of Indianapolis told her during a meeting that unless she took Sabrina home with her, the agency would drop the teen off at a homeless shelter.

Sabrina, who’s bipolar and has anxiety attacks, has attempted suicide, run away during home visits and threatened her older sister, Minnich said. Bringing Sabrina home isn’t a viable option, but the two group home placements BDDS offered weren't appropriate, she said.

“I don't want to see the state of Indiana hasten her demise by putting her in a one-size-fits-all solution that will drive her to desperate acts,” Minnich said.

Jim Dalton, Dama’s chief operating officer, said he could not comment directly on any specific case but his nonprofit would never leave a client at a homeless shelter - even though it is caring for some for free after they got too old for school-funded services and haven’t yet been granted Medicaid waivers.

“We’re talking about youth that absolutely require services, and no one is willing to fund them anymore,” Dalton said.

(emphasis added)

Really, this isn’t about money, people.  It’s about value—or the lack of value Indiana officials see in people with disabilities.  It's government-sanctioned abuse.  And it’s got to stop!