Thursday, May 29, 2008

NC Legislative Update: The Budget HHS and Education

At the General Assembly today the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Education voted on their final budget requests for fiscal year 2008-2009.

The House Health and Human Services Appropriation Subcommittee and the House Education Appropriation Subcommittee met today and voted unanimously to approve their final budgets.
There were a few adjustments in the Health and Human Services budget, specifically in the Housing 400 Initiative.

Here is a breakdown of the approved budget requests from these two committees.

Health and Human Services:

CAP/MR-DD Tiered Slots
$8,232,411 Recurring

This funding will provide for additional Community Alternatives Program slots for people with developmental disabilities.

START Crisis Model for Developmental Disabilities
$3,239,688 Recurring and $204, 459 Non Recurring

This funding will provide for 9 Developmental Disabilities Systemic Therapeutic Assessment, Respite, and Treatment Crisis Model teams.  

Respite Beds for Developmental Disabilities
$903, 375 Recurring and $177,617 Non Recurring

This funding will provide for start-up and ongoing support of 12 respite beds for individuals with developmental disabilities across the state.

Housing 400 Initiative-Housing Trust Fund
$7,000,000 Non Recurring

The funding for the Housing 400 Initiative increased in the final budget from $4,000,000. This funding provides for the financing of additional independent and supportive living apartments for people with disabilities. $2,000,000 of this funding is redirected from the Mental Health Trust Fund.

Housing 400 Initiative-Operating Cost Subsidy
$1,000,000 Recurring

This funding provides the operating cost for the independent-and supportive living apartments. It provides for the deep affordability that is needed for people with disabilities receiving Supplement Security Incomes.

Early Intervention for Autism
$1,300,000 Non Recurring

This appropriation is a reduction from the original $2,000,000. This funding supports three model programs of early intervention for autism across the state. These programs serve children with autism from birth through age 10.

Supportive Services for HUD 811 Projects
$129,331 Recurring and $155,000 Non Recurring

This funding will provide on-going operation and start –up expenses to support 6 two-bedroom and 19 one-bedroom apartments financed through HUD. These units are located in Wake County, Mecklenburg County, Rowan County and Buncombe County. Direct services dollars are the key to a successful transition to independent living options for the residents of these units.

Traumatic Brain Injury Services
$1,000,000 Recurring

This funding is directed to TBI services.

Beyond Academics: Intellectual Disability Transition Program
$200,000 Non Recurring

This funding will provide support to Beyond Academics, a non-degree university-based programs for students with developmental disabilities.  

Medically Fragile Children’s Program
$70,000 Non Recurring

Funding of this program provides services for the child care component of pediatric day treatment center for medically fragile children. In addition this program will receive an additional $290,000 from the SSBG Block Grant. This was a new appropriation that had not been funded in the previous draft proposal.


Children with Disabilities
$6,200,000 Recurring

This funding will be allotted to Les to support special education and related services for students with identified disabilities. This funding will increase the per student funded rate to $3,386.84 per student.

Dropout Prevention Grants
$15,000,000 Non Recurring

This funding will provide for a second year of grants to drop out prevention programs.

More at Four
$23,000,000 Non Recurring

This funding will expand the More at Four program by 4,184 slots in 2008-2009 and increase the average per slot amount by 3%. This was a new addition in this final budget.  

More Budget News:

In addition to the budget there were a few specific Special Provisions that we should highlight.

First in Health and Human Services ,it looks like out state may finally implement the long awaited Ticket to Work Program. Thanks to advocates across the disability spectrum a significant change was made to the Special Provision regarding Ticket To Work. In the first draft we were looking at maybe up to a year or more delay to implementation. As of this approved budget, implementation of Ticket to Work Program is set for July 1,2008, “whether or not the new MMIS is operational”.

Second, we would like to update you on progress regarding dropout rates and students with disabilities. This year in North Carolina 4,050 students with disabilities dropped out of high schools. In the final Education budget there is a special provision that begins the process of addressing what is happening in high school to children with disabilities. The provision requires the Department of Public Instruction to analyze the participation rates of students with disabilities in Learn and Earn Early College High Schools, Redesigned high Schools, the North Carolina Virtual Public School, and North Carolina public high schools that are on block schedules. In the analysis the Department is being requested to consider enrollment, graduation, and dropout rates for students with disabilities in these different programs.

So What Is Next?

The budget will now head to the full House Appropriations on Tuesday. We expect to see the House vote on the final budget on Wednesday. The Senate will begin their budget process the week after that.  It is looking like session this year will actually be a "short session".

The Arc of North Carolina and advocates across our State applaud the leadership of these two committees and the leadership of the House Appropriation Committee on addressing the needs of people and children with developmental disabilities by funding initiatives in health care, housing and education.

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