On Thursday, June 16 the House of Representatives passed a new state budget in a 61-9 vote that will have a monumental impact on children and adults with disabilities and the health and human services system. This budget invests in a long-term plan to address systemic issues to the community-based supports for our children, adults and elder with disabilities and behavioral health conditions.
The new budget (Article 12) includes structural reform to the way the State assesses and funds health and human service providers. The Article includes a rate-review process that will assess service provider rates at fair market value. The first review will be complete by September 2023 to align with the Governor’s budget process.
In total, adult developmental disabilities services and early intervention services for children received more than $110 million in investments. This includes $35 million to increase wages for direct care workers, an estimated $4 million investment in a 45% rate increase for Early Intervention rates and $20 million towards children’s services. These investments will begin the hard work of rebuilding a stable structure to ensure children and adults with disabilities have the support they need to live full, inclusive lives in our communities for years to come.
“Our elected officials have listened to the needs of Rhode Islanders with disabilities and responded with a historic investment. This is an investment in Rhode Island’s most vulnerable populations and gives a broken system a chance at repair,” said Tina Spears, Executive Director of CPNRI. “We thank Speaker Shekarchi, Leader Blazejewski, Finance Chairman Abney and all our legislative leaders for the hard work they have put into this budget. We ask the Senate and Governor to follow suit and pass this budget as presented for the residents of Rhode Island.”