Is Gov. Malloy shredding the safety net?

Associated Press


MILFORD and HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of Connecticut families are again facing a crisis because of the latest round of budget cuts announced by the Governor. The most crucial of these are parents with adult children with developmental disabilities.

If this sounds somewhat familiar to you, it’s not déjà vu. These cuts were restored a few months ago and now these families are fighting the battle all over again.

Jessie Rivelli of West Haven has a big birthday coming up on Friday. She is autistic and has done well over the past 15 years at the ‘Center for Child Development’ in Milford, but at the end of this school year next June, the help she gets daily will end because on Friday, she turns 21. The ‘Day Program’ that she needs next is in jeopardy because of the latest round of budget cuts made by Gov. Malloy. They include the elimination of ‘Day Program’ Funding.

Jessie’s mom, Michelle Rivelli, is one of hundreds of parents across the state that are in the same boat, “It’s mind boggling how his administration could not even consider how this is going to affect these individuals and their families.”

She joined with the leaders of the non-profit groups that provide these services today at the State Capitol in pleading for a reversal.

“There’s no avoiding the fact that these spending cuts will affect the lives of real people,” said Jeffrey Walter of the ‘CT Community Providers Association.’

The cuts the Governor has made to the ‘Department of Developmental Services’ and to the ‘Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services,’ total $16 million. The Governor’s office saying today that their hearts go out to the affected families but that difficult decisions have to be made to do the fiscally responsible thing.

Jessie’s mom says that she can’t fathom how the Governor can do this knowing Malloy had some disability issues himself, pleading directly to him asking, “How can you look at the parents and these individuals and in good faith say that this is the right thing to do by the people of the state of Connecticut?  I just don’t understand that.”

One state lawmaker, who is on the Appropriations Committee says they plan to meet next week to see if there’s somewhere else to find this savings. The state rep suggested that it could come out of the Governor’s Transportation plans.

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