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Governor Walker's budget proposal invests $39 million in support of children with disabilities

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and the Department of Health Services (DHS) released a video profile today to demonstrate the importance of investing in children in need of long-term care services. Governor Walker’s budget proposal includes $39 million to eliminate the children’s long-term care wait list, strengthening Wisconsin’s stance as a national leader in our approach to serving the elderly and people with disabilities. 

“While we work to reduce the tax burden for Wisconsin families, we must also prioritize support for those caring for a child with a disability,” Governor Scott Walker said. “Children have a much better chance of reaching their full potential if they are able to get the services they need when they need them. All parents should have the ability to make the best choices for their kids.”

The video profiles Ben Gapinski of Glendale, and the struggles his family faced following his autism diagnosis. Last year, under federal guidance, Wisconsin transitioned to cover autism treatment under Medicaid. Governor Walker’s 2017-19 budget proposal eliminates the wait list for other necessary services for children with disabilities. 

Governor Walker’s current budget proposal expands access to care by providing $14,067,300 in fiscal year 2017-18 and $25,205,500 in fiscal year 2018-19 to eliminate the waiting list for long-term supports for children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities or severe emotional disturbances. There are currently nearly 2,500 children in Wisconsin on the wait list.

Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin is also ending long-term care wait lists for frail elders and adults with disabilities by expanding Family Care statewide. Family Care (and its self-direction counterpart, IRIS) helps frail elders and adults with disabilities get the services they need to remain in their homes. The Family Care statewide expansion is included in the current budget and is expected to be complete next year. 

By ending wait lists for both children and adults in need of long-term care services, Wisconsin maintains a long-standing reputation as a leader in long-term care. As of 2014, at least 582,000 people in other states across the country were on wait lists for long-term care services.  

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