The readers’ forum

People with developmental disabilities need equal chance


As Florida develops the state budget for 2014-15 to meet the basic needs of its citizens, we must protect the quality of life for our most vulnerable populations, including those with developmental disabilities.

When given access to adequate services and support, Floridians with developmental disabilities can — and do — become self-sufficient citizens who are willing and able to attend school, work and play in the community, pay taxes and vote.

The best decisions will be those that encourage sustainability and lead to future cost savings for all Floridians. ARC Broward believes that supporting the continuum of life for people with developmental disabilities, including those on the waiting list for services, is an integral part of this solution.

We must also be mindful of the importance of the years of experience and expertise that advocates and service providers have developed during the past 50 to 60 years since the closing of New York’s Willowbrook and other horrific institutions around the country.

These issues will take center stage throughout March, which is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Florida. Advocates around the area have been raising their voices to show their support for the funding of services and programs that ensure an acceptable quality of life for our citizens with developmental disabilities.

It is vitally important that our lawmakers hear their voices and understand the need to provide funding for fundamental services for them.

Some of those choices are more difficult than others. Some may determine whether our most vulnerable citizens receive essential services needed to sustain the quality of their lives and determine whether they can continue to live independently as contributing members of our society, rather than be isolated or discarded.

It is vitally important that all Flordians urge our legislators to be courageous and do the right thing by finding the funds to provide essential services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. We support budget recommendations that provide additional funding for those on the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waiver waiting list. This recommendation allows those with the most critical needs, some of whom have been waiting for years, to begin receiving services.

In South Florida, these services include: adequate funding for services for adults with developmental disabilities over the age of 22 including meaningful day activity, residential supports, transportation and job readiness/employment services.

One voice can be heard when combined with many others. One face commands attention when joined by many others. And one bold, brave, creative effort by those we’ve elected to represent us can give strength to those among us who are most in need and most vulnerable.

Dennis Haas, President/CEO,

ARC Broward, Sunrise

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Fare hike for Special Transportation Services is fair

    In the July 20 letter to the editor Fare increase for disabled ‘un-American,’ Evan Flugman expressed concerns over the recommended 50-cent Special Transportation Service (STS) fare increase that is included in the proposed Miami-Dade County budget for fiscal year 2014-2015.

  • How to pick qualified jurists

    As a lawyer who has been practicing in Miami-Dade for 40 years, and appearing regularly before the area’s judges, I would agree with the major theme of Joe Cardona’s July 26 column, Better ways to pick judges. Elections aren’t the best path to a quality bench, yet I strongly disagree that elections haven’t produced a strong local judiciary. The anonymous opinions of lawyers expressed in bar polls is that the overwhelming majority of our local judges do a good job. Applicants to the Judicial Nominating Commission almost always have quality résumés. The pay for judges, while not generous, may be far less than successful experienced lawyers, but compares favorably with the average income as statistics reflect. Judicial elections have not prevented Miami-Dade from providing us an overwhelming number of capable jurists.

  • Where’s the outrage?

    If most of the Muslims of the world are decent, peace-loving citizens, then where is their outrage against the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the other violent murderous Islamics? They kill schoolgirls for the crime of seeking an education, or throw acid in their faces, they set off bombs in crowds of civilians, and they bomb mosques and churches. In Mali, where the situation was horrible, European forces are trying to restore peace.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category