Rally Against Disability Cuts

Protesters rallied at the headquarters of the department of children and families today against a reduction in what the state will pay for services to the developmentally
Disabled. They called on secretary Jerry Regier to make sure clients don't lose important services.

They came, they marched and they chanted, 250 strong. Developmentally disabled, their parents and group home operators united to tell the Department of Children and Families they had no where to go if homes were forced to close across the state.

"What is going to happen that is my concern now. With all of out developmentally disabled people what is going to happen to these people," says Sarah Byford.

Organizers say the sudden 15 percent cut in payments to group homes has created a crisis.

"Reduction and rates for that group home, they cause a group home to close. If that happens were are forced to find other places to live including my son, and we really have no place to go," says john Betsey, father.

At DCF headquarters secretary Jerry Regier walked through the crow.

"He's been told to dream that dream, that you can have it. But now he's in the threat of having that very dream taken away from him, and I want something done about it."

Each time, the secretary assured residents he would do what he could.

"In the next couple of days we are going to try to find out why this expenditure dated looks like it's going up," says Jerry Regier.

But what if costs are justified and the money simply isn't there?

"Then we have to put our heads together and talk to the legislature because we can't be cutting their services," Regier adds.

But waiting for the legislature to act could take months and these protesters say they don't have that much time. Secretary Regier has also ordered an audit of the developmental disabilities program, trying to figure out why costs have gone up by as much as 150 percent for some services.