Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dispatch from Jones St: Seven Days and Counting

The North Carolina General Assembly will be back in session in just seven days. There are some serious issues facing the 170 elected officials who will be sworn in on January 28, 2009.

There is real concern about the health and stability of the State Health Plan. Many news outlets are reporting that to keep the health plan "healthy" we will need to see a $300 million dollar infusion.

Then there is Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse needs. Our state has watched people with developmental disabilities in the south east loose all of their supports and services. This has sent families into crisis. We have witnessed two LMEs falter.

There is a real need to stabalize these systems and to promote and expand community based services for all three populations served under the Division of MH, DD, SA.

The next big issue is going to be affordable housing. We need more of it. There is a shortage of it. Investing in housing options is an economic stimulus plan.

Last but not least is addressing the dropout rates of students with disabilities in our public school system.

Lots to do and not a lot of money to do it with. Still these are the times of great leadership and innovation. Let's get to work.

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