Last night, a friend of mine asked me if Delaware was closing all their day treatment centers. I had not heard of this before. But apparently there is confirmation from a few organizations in the state that this will happen in two months. This would not include the day treatment centers run by hospitals, like Dover Behavioral Health.
Many parents of children with disabilities, specifically autism, rely on these services for their children when the public school system is unable to give the services these children need. In social media postings, several parents are desperately trying to get confirmation of this. I reached out to a couple of legislators and one confirmed it is happening while the other had not even heard of this.
On Monday, the Delaware Economic Forecast Advisory Council (DEFAC) announced the state was looking at a $167 million deficit in their latest projection. Last night at a “Meet and Chew”, Delaware Governor candidate John Carney said he fears this will rise to $300 million in the coming months. While I don’t know if this is related to the possible shutting down of state-run day treatment centers, it would certainly save the state a considerable amount of money. But what happens to these children who depend on these services? Our schools can’t service them. The private day centers lack the space to accommodate all these kids. As one parent said on Facebook, “this is a disaster waiting to happen.”
If I were a parent of a child who uses these services, I would be freaking out! I highly recommend all of these parents contact the Department of Service for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF) as well as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS). They should also contact their state representatives and senators. If you don’t know who your state rep or senator is, you can look here for your Senator and here for your State Rep.
One Delaware Senator told a parent they want written confirmation from DSCYF on this matter and expects to receive that today. Why is it always the children who need the most help that get crucial services cut first? If this happens, I fully expect parents to rise up and fight the state on this.
One parent was told this would not affect the residential treatment centers, where students actually live there to get help.