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Developmental Disabilities Provider Network’s 11th Annual Legislative Community Forum

Free event with elected officials to discuss services California’s crisis in developmental disabilities community

San Diego CA— With California’s developmental disabilities community on the brink of collapse, residents with developmental disabilities, their families, caregivers and those who support people with developmental disabilities are encouraged to attend the Developmental Disabilities Provider Network’s (DDPN) 11th Annual Legislative Community Forum on Friday, April 24th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Balboa Park Club, 2144 Pan America Road West, San Diego. This year’s theme is 10 for 10 – Your Advocacy Matters and focuses on the need for the disabilities community to advocate for a ten percent funding increase in the state budget. This is a FREE event; however registration is required at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ddpn-legislative-community-forum-tickets-15981308524?aff=eac2.

“Funding for California’s developmental disabilities system began to decline in the 1990’s and during the recession, more than $1 billion was cut from the budget,” said Wendy Forkas, DDPN chair and Chief Operating Officer of Employment and Community Options. “With the governor’s budget revision due in May, our event gives attendees an opportunity to talk directly with local and state government leaders about the need for a ten percent budget increase and hear firsthand how budget cuts and lack of funding for people with disabilities has affected people and their families. Also, attendees will learn how they can continue to advocate for change to the system.”

This year’s Legislative Forum will include speakers Marty Omoto from California Disability Community Action Network , Will Sandford from California Disability Services Association, Assemblymember Shirley Weber, Assemblymember Brian Maienschein and Senator Marty Block.

In 1969, California passed the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Service Act which states that Californians with developmental disabilities and their families have a right to the services and support they need to reach full potential and live as independently as possible. However during the last ten years, the Lanterman Act has endured more than 50 cost cutting changes, there has been an elimination of services and a reduction to a rate system that was already frozen while caseloads continue to grow and the costs of services continue to increase.

“California’s developmental disabilities system is in a crisis and we must make sure that the governor and the legislators hear our concerns,” added Forkas. “Our system needs a ten percent increase and we cannot allow essential services for people with developmental disabilities to continue to be cut. I am hopeful that the San Diego Community will join us at this year’s Legislative Forum and let their voices be heard.”

About Developmental Disabilities Provider Network

Founded in 1994 as the Vendor Coalition, Developmental Disabilities Provider Network (DDPN) serves as the voice of nearly 100 San Diego County organizations that provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

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