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DHS cuts force parents of developmentally disabled to make life-altering decisions

Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 04:52:05-04

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- Parents with developmentally disabled adult children learned Wednesday that funding they depend on from the state is being eliminated.

A letter was sent out saying the Adult In-home Support Waiver will no longer be available starting December 1st.

That money goes towards helping families whose developmentally disabled adult children live at home.

The cut is forcing families to make life-altering decisions in the next 30 days.

Lonette Hay is a single mother of developmentally disabled twins. She said she was sick to her stomach and shocked when she heard the news.

“The waiver is everything to us,” Hay said.

Taren and Trevor, both 21, work at A New Leaf, a non-profit in Broken Arrow that employs developmentally disabled adults.

Taren works in the plant nursery and loves seeing her friends.

Trevor makes jewelry there and enjoys going every day.

That will all end on December 1st. Hay said when she told the twins, they were devastated.

“Just think, you sitting at home for the rest of your life, watching tv, eating and playing games waiting for mom to come home,” Hay said. “That’s going to be their future existence.”

Not only will Taren and Trevor not be able to return to their job, the cuts will get rid of the person who takes care of them while their mother is at work.

“They help with daily living. They help with cooking. They help with feeding and taking them out into the community,” Hay said.

Hay is a single mother working two jobs. She is now going to be forced to choose between her job and staying home to take care of her kids and not having an income.

“I would have to be their full time caretaker without an income for the rest of my life I guess,” Hay said. “I don’t know. What do you do? Live in a car? I don’t know.”

Hay wrote to anyone and everyone she thought could make the state change their mind after she got the news.

“It is just unacceptable period that as a state we do not think more of our disabled population,” Hay said she wrote to leaders.

A New Leaf said this will cut the number of disabled adult employees they have by about 50-percent. It could have ripple effects on the rest of the staff as well.

The Adult In-home Support Waiver ends December 1st.


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