Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Florida's "End the Line" campaign

[Image description: Banner shows a photo of a young man's face, with the caption "More than 15,000 people with developmental disabilities wait for community services. endtheline.org"--there's also a graphic, silhouettes of a line of people, various sizes]

Families in the US navigating their resource options figure out pretty quickly that some states are better than others for kids and adults with developmental disabilities. And one of the worst states, by any possible measure, is Florida, where over 15,000 people are on a waitlist--more than 2,500 of them have been waiting for more than five years--for such essential community services as respite hours, training programs, and employment supports. Some other states have waiting lists, but Florida's is especially glacial, and shows no signs of improvement.

Now EndtheLine.org has a website, with family stories, sample letters to the editor and letters to elected officials, and news items to help advocates work for change on this appalling situation. Even if you don't live in Florida and never expect to, it's a site worth visiting as an example of online advocacy. And it's worth knowing what's happening there, anyway--because stuff like this thrives when no one beyond state borders notices or cares. Well, we've noticed, Florida. A lot of folks have noticed.

6 comments:

Moggy said...

That really makes me wonder... My Florida-raised friends of all socioeconomic backgrounds have an unusually strong drive/need for self-sufficiency, to a degree that isn't compatible with disability accommodations/assistance. I can't help wondering how common their attitude is (or if it's mere coincidence), and if it is the norm, how that is connected to the lack of readily-available assistance.

I'd write more, but my brain isn't functioning properly due to somewhat-severe sleep deprivation. I hope that the above makes sense, I keep drifting off into dream-worlds while typing. :-/

Ashley's Mom said...

Virginia is another state with very long lines, lines in which people languish for years and years.

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