Parents of children with developmental disabilities want funding for programs

Funding seen as vital to help both children and adults

BOSTON (WWLP) – Across Massachusetts, more than 18,000 families are caring for a family member with a developmental disability. Some parents must decide whether or not they should quit their jobs to care for their disabled children.

Families of children with autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental, intellectual, or communications issues, rely on the government to pay for caregiving and support programs. Once they turn 22 years old, they transition from school-provided services to adult services from the government.

Without sufficient funds for support programs, such as employment services and transportation, parents told 22News that they may have to quit their jobs to care for their children.

They are asking lawmakers to support Governor Charlie Baker’s $24 million budget proposal to fund these support programs.

“It is very hard to make that transition into the adult world, and they need lots of supports and lots of opportunities around employment, but their abilities are there with those supports,” said Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs for the Arc of Massachusetts.

The budget proposal must be approved by both the House and Senate and signed by Governor Baker before programs receive funds.