Families celebrate 200 new disability services waivers

Families celebrate 200 new disability services waivers
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Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Monday, June 3, 2013 - 5:14pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 3, 2013 - 6:07pm

With budget cuts looming on the horizon, some Louisiana families gained a win. Lawmakers found enough money for New Opportunity Waivers, which provides services to those with developmentally disabled children.

"Oh my God! I was so elated! I jumped for joy,” Ursula Brown, the mother of an autistic daughter, said. “I called everybody I knew, and I just hope the numbers keep increasing.”

Tiera Brown was diagnosed with autism when she was only 2-years-old. For the past 8 years, the Brown family has been waiting for a New Opportunity Waiver to get help for some of Tiera's everyday needs.

"Tiera has to be supervised at all times,” Ursula said. “We could really benefit from that and I could really have some sense of security if she is supervised at all times."

Representatives and Senators were able to find money in the budget for 200 waivers. Originally, there wasn't even room for one.

"I can't think of one person, and I've talked to thousands in this situation, that would ever say, no I don't want those services to keep my child at home. I just want them to go into an institution. I mean we would all rather keep our families intact, and these services provide just that," said Jaime Tindle of Families Helping Families.

Though the Browns aren't sure if Tiara will get one of the NOW waivers, they know they're at least one step closer in their eight year wait.

"We'd love for the opportunity to be given to us to receive services very soon. Not only for my family, but for everybody else in the community as well," shared Brown.

The average wait time for a now waiver is about 10 years. The House still has to agree to this year's budget, which was passed by Senators on Saturday.

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