Disabled children and adults suffer from DHS cuts

Posted at 7:05 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 20:17:15-04

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- Budget cuts to the Department of Human Services leaving some of the state’s most vulnerable to make tough decisions.

DHS received $18-million for the upcoming fiscal year than last year but is still having to make $30 million in cuts.

According to DHS, the state’s revenue failure over the last few years is catching up to the department. Also, the increase in adoption assistance payments and increase in the state’s Medicaid program puts them $30 million short.

One of the groups affected is disabled adults and children.

They will have to cut seven hours of services they receive each week, meaning they will have to prioritize what they receive now and do without the lowest on their list.

Maranda Figueroa with A New Leaf said the cuts are going to force their clients, people with disabilities to choose between services she says are basic to begin with.

“To cut any service at all sends a message that their quality of life is not important,” Figueroa said.

A New Leaf in Broken Arrow serves people with disabilities in numerous ways. One is through their garden center where the adults work.

Figueroa said one of the programs people with disabilities and their guardians could choose to cut is transportation. That could leave some of them without a ride to the job they love.

“I don’t like it. I love it” John Goodpastur, a disabled worker at a New Leaf, said about working at the center.

“It’s a very sad situation to have to explain that you have to choose between going to work and going to your doctor’s appointment,” Figueroa said. “That is not a choice anyone should have to be in a position to make.”

Another service families can choose to cut is in-home care, another service provided by A New Leaf. Workers provide supervision to disabled adults living at home and help them with things like eating, bathing, getting dressed and personal hygiene.

Also as part of DHS cuts, seniors who receive 20 hours of personal care services through the ADvantage program may lose five hours per week.

About 1,000 children and their families will also be denied assistance by the freeze on child care services. 

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