ADAPT PRESENTING DEMANDS FOR SUPPORT OF COMMUNITY SERVICES FOR ARKANSAS CITIZENS WITH DISABILITIES

Following ADAPT's successful visit to Governor Beebe's office in which he committed support for implementation of the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), ADAPT is now presenting the same demands to Democratic candidate Mike Ross, who is hoping to succeed him. However, instead of welcoming us as did Governor Beebe, Mr. Ross has had the police prevent us from getting
near his campaigne headquarters and has had one of our leaders arrested who attempted to peacefully approach him to request a meeting.

CFCO would allow all Arkansans who qualify for institutional placement to choose community supports instead. This would end the long waiting list of nearly 3,000 desperate citizens, some of whom have been waiting for over nine years. State officials have developed twelve years of financial projections for implementing CFCO which show that selecting this option will generate savings for the state. This is born out by the experience of other states and studies which have demonstrated that community supports
are generally less expensive than institutional placement. This is truly a rare win-win for supporters of civil rights and fiscal conservatives alike.

Implementation of CFCO does not require a full vote of the legislature. However, it does require the approval of the Health, Labor and Welfare committee, as well as of Rules and Regulations.

"We believe that voters should know whether the Gubernatorial candidates will support the right of seniors and people with disabilities to live in the community or will continue state policies which force them into unwanted institutionalization and throw away our precious tax dollars," said Brenda Stinebuck, an organizer of Arkansas ADAPT.

In addition to support for implementation of the CFCO, ADAPT is demanding that Ross work with ADAPT and other activists to increase the percentage of long-term care funds that are spent on community supports, establish a workgroup to remove further barriers to community services and reverse recent damaging changes to the manner in which community service providers
are reimbursed.