Leo’s Letter: The Running Game in Advocacy

In football, the running game may be slow but it’s nearly always the key ingredient to any winning strategy. In talking about Running Back LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said he liked the fact that Blount has the “ability to make the yards that we need at the time we need them.”

That’s what advocacy is about, too. We facilitate opportunities for people so they are empowered to meet the goals of their daily life. Anything more is a “bonus” as the Coach would say.

Last week many of you learned that the state’s shortfall in revenue resulted in $23 million less in funding at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and lack of language to protect Adult Foster/Family Care (AFC) relative to the House budget bill. We do have gains and increased funding than last year reflects the support of the Governor and the legislature. But the gains do not keep pace with the needs.

The implications are tough. For example:

  • Young adults who have left school, but need a day or work opportunities, may be stuck at home and a parent may have to leave his/her job because of it
  • An older caregiver whose adult daughter needs more assistance or a residence and may not be able to get that help
  • A family whose son needs 24/7 assistance at home throughout the day due to cognitive or intellectual challenges finds out that they will receive less adult family or foster care resources, because he doesn’t need bathing assistance the entire time of his bath

The ground game is about persevering, about being ready to go back and not accept the initial outcome. We need to persevere sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly. And you can persevere for what you need at home or elsewhere in your daily life. Whether you or a loved one has autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or another disability, a running game equals steady progress.

We will need your stories to share with Health and Human Services, the legislature, and the public at large in the coming weeks. Please share them and, if you can, allow us to share them with the public. Together we will persevere.


  1. Last October, my 17 year old son was inadvertently injured in an inappropriately administered restraint at school. Consequently, his Patellar was dislocated. Isiah has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and secondary autistic tendencies. His verbal skills are limited. He is just developing the ability to tell people when his knee is hurting him.
    Days after the injury occurred we were completing the CTR in Boston and Isiah became aggressive. He was hospitalized for 31 days-the first 2 weeks were at BCH. The medical bill arrived in January. Our private health insurance covered less than half the cost of his 2 week stabilization hospitalization. Without the benefit of MassHealth as a secondary insurance-we would be forced to remortgage our home to pay the cost.
    Isiah was adopted through the state. We have committed our lives to providing him with the love and care that he deserves. As we age, we recognize the need for long term plans to protect him. We also need to know that services and provisions will be available as they are needed. Isiah will age out of the school system in the next 3 years. We need adult services and healthcare to support his independence and to recognize his developmental needs. We need his life to matter!

  2. My families depend upon Adult Foster Care for the aid for their loved one. The state also saves money as other residential options are far more expensive. Please fund this necessary Program.

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