The Arc of Massachusetts (The Arc) celebrates the release of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Budget announced by Chair Brian Dempsey. Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc, stated “Chair Dempsey and the House Ways/Means Committee members not only recognized the rising number of students requiring public support as adults, but ensure that all young adults who need DDS funding will receive it –it’s a landmark decision.”
The decision by Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary Marylou Sudders to right-size the Department of Developmental Services’ Turning 22 budget is a major policy change. The Arc has been advocating for it since the 2009 recession. The Turning 22 program funds people who have an intellectual or other disability and require adult services. Without this funding, persons and families often face tough choices: a parent may have to leave his/her job, a young adult may be stuck at home in a potentially unsafe and isolating situation, and other undesirable outcomes. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which was released yesterday, fully funds this line item with $24 million, while addressing ongoing needs for this year’s graduates.