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In Free Market Paradise, State Workers Tell Parents: Dump Disabled Kids At Homeless Shelters To Get Help

"Are there no workhouses?" The reader who sent me this link wrote: "When I was totally burnt out on trying to get daughter going in some direction, somehow, and was going to the county to try to get help, I was told that the only way they would

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"Are there no workhouses?"

The reader who sent me this link wrote: "When I was totally burnt out on trying to get [my disabled] daughter going in some direction, somehow, and was going to the county to try to get help, I was told that the only way they would have funds to help her was if I threw her out of the house.

"Then, because she would be at serious risk, they would have to step in. So, yes. That's the only way you can get money, sometimes. But they weren't recommending it. And somehow I don't think anyone who knew the whole story would think any less of these parents for doing it."

This whole mess is Dickensian. But then, this happens so often with Republican officials, who would rather cut off their arm than raise taxes to help the poor and defenseless:

Parents in Indiana have reportedly been told by state workers to leave their severely disabled kids at homeless shelters if they can't afford to care for them, in what advocacy groups say is a horrifying example of how government budget cuts are hitting home for ordinary Americans.

Some parents testified at a state hearing this week that employees at the state Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services gave them the harsh recommendation, according to the Associated Press.

The parents had sought guidance after they failed to receive scheduled Medicaid waivers that pay to support disabled children living independently. GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels has made cuts to the budget of the Family and Social
Services Administration, of which the bureau is a part.

"We are people and they are people," Becky Holladay -- whose 22-year-old son has epilepsy, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- told legislators Tuesday. "They have lives that are worth something."

The Family and Social Services Administration says that it's not the agency's policy to suggest homeless shelters as an alternative--and that workers who make any such recommendation will be disciplined.

Spokesman Marcus Barlow told The Upshot that budget cuts had not led to delays in the Medicaid waivers. "People aren't waiting longer for their waivers than they were five years ago," he said.

Still, advocates for the disabled say the waiting list for waivers grew to 20,000 names last month--and that 2,000 slots were recently eliminated.

They also say that despite Barlow's assurances to the contrary, suggestions to leave disabled kids at homeless shelters have been widespread. "It is something we are hearing from all over the state, that families are being told this is an alternative for them," said Kim Dodson, an official with the Arc of Indiana. "A homeless shelter would never be able to serve these people."

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