Friday, February 20, 2009

Families Torn by State Budget Cuts Rally at the Capitol and Tucson

February 20, 2009

Phoenix Families Torn by State Budget Cuts Rally at the Capitol, 300 More Rally in Tucson

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Over 150 people rallied at the Capitol today with Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, to support children and families by putting faces to the families affected by the cuts made to the Department of Economic Services and the Healthy Families program. In Tucson, 300 more rallied with Sens. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, and Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, at the headquarters of Child and Family Resources, Inc.

“These programs are necessary to the stability of our community, especially during an economic crisis when families need the most support,” said Sen. Landrum Taylor. “There were so many other options instead of decimating our communities. It didn’t have to be like this. We’re robbing future generation from a sound, healthy environment and that is not something we should stand for.”

The cuts to the Healthy Family and Choices contracts caused many organizations, such as Child and Family Resources to layoff 70 staff members.

“The real tragedy is the loss of services to families and children across our state, 3,000 families and children just from our agency alone,” said Lydia Medina, Regional Director for Child & Family Resources, Inc. “The programs lost serve the most vulnerable children and families, many of whom have already been involved in the Child Protective Services system. We urge all of you to fight for the services our children and families deserve.”

Two mothers of children with developmental disabilities served by early intervention programs gave their testimonies regarding the service cuts.

“It’s an emotional charging subject because I think that if it’s never affected you, if you’ve never been faced with it or never had a family member whose had some type of problem, some type of or delay, some type of issue that’s needed a little bit of extra help then it might not mean that much to you,” said Becca Marquette. “I was probably in that case three and a half years ago when my daughter was born and at 6 months old, she was diagnosed with developmental delays. With the help of early intervention, she’s made remarkable strides. To cut that future, that promise, that hope out of families lives…it’s astounding. It’s time to do what’s right. Think about our kids.”

Nicki Garcia, the mother of a one year old daughter with Down syndrome, worked for Healthy Families only a few years ago.

“Here I am a few years later and I’m on the other side now. My little girl has disabilities and she needs your help. My husband and I say all the time that we are so blessed that we live in a society that takes care of our kids and thank God she wasn’t born 20 years ago because she wouldn’t have had any of this. Now here we are and everything has been stripped from her in one day. They’re kids, they’re souls and they can’t do it alone. We need your help.”

Event coverage: 
KGUN 9 (ABC) Tucson: Cuts Jeopardize Music Therapy

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