Palumbo Joins Colleagues to Launch C.A.R.E.S. Plan
Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R,C,I,Ref-New Suffolk) presented the Assembly Minority’s Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities findings at a press conference this week held by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua) and Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch (R-Bainbridge). The Assembly Minority Conference members have been strong advocates of the developmental disability community, fighting to restore $90 million in funding to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in 2013.
The members of the task force traveled all over the state, holding forums in 11 regions talking with direct care workers, family members, doctors and developmentally disabled individuals. The task force findings were put together into a comprehensive report known as C.A.R.E.S. (Championing Aid, Rights, Equality, and Services: a Report on the Olmstead Decision & Its Impact on the State’s Developmental Disability Community). Recommendations from their findings include (but not limited to):
- Create a Bill of Rights for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities to outline in statute their rights.
- Requiring the Attorney General to reevaluate the state’s interpretation of the Olmstead Decision
- Working with the federal government to prevent the state from losing funding as a result of the interpretation of the Olmstead Decision.
- Fully fund the increase in minimum wage for direct care workers employed by non-profit providers.
- Create a commission to study and report on what wage levels would need to be in order to recruit and retain an adequate number of qualified direct care workers in the various regions of the state, with a special focus on making sure that staffing levels are adequate for the transition to integrated employment.
“This is a part of society we have to keep fighting for,” said Palumbo. “Our findings presented in the C.A.R.E.S. Plan should be taken into consideration as we move forward with budget negotiations. We need to increase local services and funding to open up employment and personal development opportunities. Ensuring that the disability community is properly funded in the coming 2017 budget should be a priority.”
***A comprehensive look at the plan can be found here.***