We appreciate the Governor and legislature coming together to pass a major rescue funding bill. The bill signed this week reflects a culmination of months of hearings, stakeholder input, and negotiations. And it’s not over. More advocacy is ahead of us.
The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, which was championed by President Biden and others, laid the groundwork. The administration and legislature held meetings or hearings to address how to best use the monies.
In Maura Sullivan’s writeup here, you’ll see more specifics: the $300 million for home and community-based services (across disability sectors), nearly $40 million which will increase the salary benchmark for direct support professionals, and $400 million into the behavioral health reserve.
Our constituents can benefit from these and other investments. We need to be vigilant.
For example, will the behavioral health investment consider those of our constituents stuck in hospitals or other inappropriate settings? Will the Commonwealth address gaps in earlier intervention with families and individuals in need? Will our workforce investment allow our field to be competitive with the health and education sectors?
Time will tell. But we need to come together even more to make this crisis an opportunity to ensure that our constituents are accepted AND supported in all sectors of society.