Arizona HB 2242 Passed!
In the final days of this legislative session, our bill has passed both House and Senate and has been sent to the Governor for her signature.
This is a small step and a great deal of work lies ahead, but I consider this a big victory for people in Arizona with disabilities that allow them to slip into the cracks, such as the higher functioning people with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, and other neurological disabilities that impair a person's ability to function in life in spite of IQ scores that are high enough to disqualify them from services. Presently the criteria for DD services is based on IQ scores, and anyone with an IQ over 69 does not qualify for services, regardless of their inability to function. Federal criteria look at functional abilities and therefore are more realistic in determining who needs services. The purpose of HB2242 is to urge the state to bring their eligibility criteria more into line with Federal criteria.
HB2242 will assign a task force to advise a special oversight committee that has been appointed by the Governor to look at the state's system that provides services to Arizona's developmentally disabled. This task force will gather information to provide a report to the committee regarding the number of persons who need services and aren't getting them but would be if the criteria were modified, and the costs of those services if the State were to provide them. The task force has a few years to gather the data, and I will be assisting in that respect by providing comparative costs for providing intervetion services to persons with FAS (estimated $10,000-$30,000 per year) as opposed to the cost of institutionalization for persons who do not receive intervention services (estimated $40,000-$100,000 per year) in an effort to prove that preventive care is cost effective (preventive as far as secondary disabilities associated with untreated FAS).
A difficult road lies ahead, in that we will need to convince the legislature at some point to fund the services that are needed. And we all know how generous the AZ legislature is with funding programs for social services. Don't ever forget how important your vote is and how much influence a constituent can have on a legislator.
This was my first attempt at changing the system through changing the law. This little success is quite invigorating. I hope you all will join me as I continue the fight on behalf of our citizens who cannot speak up for themselves, those who need our help to attain a quality of life we know they deserve.
Teresa in Tucson, AZ - mother to John (FAS)