State Reps. Pam Staneski and Charles Ferraro attended the 3rd Annual Family Action Day at the State Capitol put on by the Arc - Connecticut.

For the past three years more than 300 families have converged on the State Capitol in Hartford to tell state legislators their stories and to ask for help in obtaining funding for the support of their children and loved ones who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) budget has been cut by more than $50 million over the past three years, Staneski and Ferraro pointed out. Most of those cuts have been aimed directly at community based residential, day and employment services. As a result, in addition to there being more than 2,000 people on the residential waiting list, there are now about 100 people on the waiting list for day and employment supports, the legislators said in a press release.

This year, the Arc - Connecticut Families for Families and The Family Empowerment Task Force are working together to:

Ask legislators and the governor to agree on a concrete plan to invest long term and short term institutional savings into the waiting lists and community based services.

Pass a comprehensive “DDS Family’s Rights” bill.

Prevent the further erosion of DDS funding for community supports.

Both Staneski and Ferraro are members of the bipartisan Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Caucus, which focuses on issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Ferraro and Staneski spoke to the hundreds of family members about a bill proposal that they have asked the legislature’s Public Health Committee to consider regarding residential waiting lists as well as requiring DDS to inform families, in layman's terms, about the Regional Advisory and Planning Council's (RAC) services available to them.

Staneski said, “Our local RACs can be great resources for these families and it is important that that information is disseminated to the families. As for the waiting list, combining the list into one is a start.”

Ferraro said, “This is a core function of government; we need to care for these families and not continually pull the rug from under their feet. They are not second class citizens.”