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Proponents of Community-Based Waiver Supports Call For More Funding


Despite the threat of rain, proponents of state-funded supports that allow developmentally disabled individuals to live at home – rather than in institutions or group homes – rallied at the state capitol Wednesday.

The gatherers, organized by the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, called on lawmakers to support more funding for community-based waiver services.

Louisiana’s state operating budget for the year 2013-2014 includes funding for 75 additional waiver slots. But that barely scratches the surface of a waiting list that’s over 9,600 people long.

Keynote speaker Kay Marcel told the crowd that waiver services have enabled her son Joel, who has down-syndrome, to get a job and be independent.

"His waiver supports provide my husband and me with peace of mind that is priceless," said Marcel. "Regardless of what it costs to keep someone in the community, it is priceless to live in your home, to live with your friends and your family."

The state says it’s in favor of community-based services, which turn out to be cheaper for them in the long-run.

But there is concern waiver services aren’t for everybody, as some with severe developmental disabilities may need around-the-clock care and are not able to live on their own.


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Ashley Westerman is a producer who occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has produced a variety of stories including a coal mine closing near her hometown, the 2016 Republican National Convention, and the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh. She is also an occasional reporter for Morning Edition, and, where she has contributed reports on both domestic and international news.

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