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Advice

Rally for Californians with Developmental Needs Marches Sept. 3

We’re Here to Speak for Justice!

Thursday, Sept 3, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., a local rally in Alameda Park (by the Gazebo facing Anacapa St.), in support of the larger rally happening simultaneously in Sacramento, will urge the Legislature to fix the funding crisis affecting the Department of Developmental Services.

Hear from families and self advocates about the effects of the budget crisis that are felt locally followed by a march down State St. to Canon Perdido, where 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal will say a few words.

“We’re here to Speak for Justice!” was the rallying cry in the late 1960s that created the Lanterman Act. It is once again our rallying cry! 

Sept. 3 will be a day of action to keep the promise of The Lanterman Act alive

The developmental services community has endured a decade of rate cuts and freezes. We are a community that is falling apart, and we need help now! 

Join the rallying cry of a community in crisis along with self and parent advocates, service providers and local representatives who have already contributed their voices.

After the march, Slingshot Art Studio, 220 West Canon Perdido St., will screen "We’re Here to Speak For Justice," a provocative and moving documentary on the founding of the regional center system for people with developmental disabilities and their families in the state of California, which will run from 6–7 p.m.

The following letter was sent to Speaker Toni Atkins, Assembly Reublican Leader Kristin Olsen, Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon and Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, urging the majority leaders to help fix a damaged system.

Dear  Legislative  Leaders:

On  behalf  of  the  below signed  organizations, as well as the attached list of agencies and individuals throughout California, we issue a desperate plea — one in which we ask that you solve the developmental services funding crisis before adjourning session September 11th.

Lives are at risk.

Critical community-based programs that serve our neediest and most vulnerable citizens are shutting down or turning away desperate Californians who rely on State-funded services to survive. Additionally, caseloads at regional centers are higher than the state promised the federal government they would be. We are in crisis at every level of this system, putting billions in federal funds at risk, and we cannot continue to provide safe and adequate service levels without your IMMEDIATE intervention.    

The time for finger-pointing and blame is over. We need your help NOW.  

We understand you may have differences of opinion on how to address California’s neglected developmental services system. We also know that many legislators on both sides of the political aisle have worked in good faith this year toward an acceptable solution. But those efforts have thus far failed, leaving us with an unacceptable and unconscionable situation that must now be fixed.

If the Legislature chooses to adjourn September 11th without addressing this issue and approving this desperately needed funding, we would have no choice but to consider that failure an act of indifference and disregard for people with developmental disabilities, their families, and those that serve them.

Our dire situation is well-documented and has been discussed exhaustively at legislative hearings attended by people and programs that serve them from across California.    
Community-based  programs and regional centers that implement existing law under the state’s famed “Lanterman Act” — such as housing, employment opportunities, meaningful day activities and other services — have received just ONE rate increase this century, while the cost of providing services has risen approximately 30 percent.  

The Lanterman Coalition has been consistent this year in calling for a 10 percent, across-the-board increase to provider rates and regional center operations funding to stabilize the system that serves this very vulnerable population.

As the first year of this legislative session comes to a close, Californians with developmental disabilities, their families and those that serve them are watching closely and counting on you to do the right thing.

Sincerely,

The Lanterman Coalition.

— Jennifer Griffin represents the Lanterman Coalition.

 
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