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Parents of disabled children worry their role will change as in-home care is cut

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Posted at 3:53 PM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-07 16:53:41-05

SAPULPA, Okla. -- Lora Roberts is a single mother. She relies on the Department of Human Service's Adult In-Home Support Waiver for nutrition and debilitation services.

Roberts said the caretakers go beyond the role of employee, and are a source of joy for her son Jeremy.

"He looks forward, every morning he goes to the window and he looks to see "ok Misty is coming in" and then we have Christy, we've had her seven years... she helps out in the evenings," she said.

Her other specialist has been with the family for 12 years now.

"Getting him off the bus, she'll take him to speech for me, and they've kind of become his friend. It's sad, but a lot of kids with special needs don't have friends... so their staff become their friends," Roberts said.

Roberts is one of about 1500 people that will be affected by these waiver cuts. She worries without DHS staff, the role will change for both her and Jeremy.

"I have a purpose going to my job. He's not really going to have a purpose. He's going to be at home with mom for the rest of his life because you know, other than putting him in a nursing home... and that isn't an option for him," Roberts said.

For this family, having childcare through the school is only a temporary solution.

"He could stay in school another couple of years. But come summer there's no options because there's no day cares. You can't take an 18 year old, even though he's cognitively a two year old... you can't just drop him off at the local day care," Roberts said.

The loss of four DHS disability programs will impact close to 25,000 people. That doesn't include the employees who will be losing their jobs.