This story - "Justice Department Sues Florida Over Disabled Kids in Nursing Homes" - makes me a little crazy. So I'm going to vent a bit.
I will be the first one to agree that Florida does a poor job of taking care of disabled kids that have been on the waiting list for services for YEARS. Isaac has been on the list since 2004, and we've received bed pads, a therapy wedge and a small metal ramp...in NINE years' time! AND he was a ward of the state before we adopted him, so by all rights, he should have been on the list AT BIRTH.
However, we HAVE been able to keep him at home. We know that God gave him to US to raise and by allowing him to be placed in a nursing home, we are turning our backs on our responsibility.
That being said, what happens if we become physically unable to care for him??? The state would rather put him in a nursing home with poor therapy resources and no social interaction with family and peers, rather than provide in-home nursing. That is just wrong.
BUT should the FEDERAL government get involved with what happens to Florida's disabled children??? I say, "Absolutely not!"
They cannot adequately fund their own programs and do an extremely poor job of regulating the people who are involved in those programs. I do not believe that they will do a better job than our state has done, nor do I believe that they will solve the issues.
We are told that the waiting list is 12-15 years long now. That means that Isaac *might* receive some help in the year 2016...IF there are any monies available by then. That sounds extremely unlikely, doesn't it???
The first step to a solution of this issue is to elect government officials who will do the right things for these children. By "right things", I do NOT mean that they should provide in-home, around-the-clock nursing for all of these children. Nor do I think they should modify entire houses, nor provide 100% of the funding for vehicles and modifications. Each case should be handled with honesty and diligence, doing only what is necessary for the health and well-being of the child and the caregiver.
The second step is for parents to be honest about their needs. It is not my RIGHT to receive help for Isaac. I do not expect the government to care for my child. I will do ALL I can, I will ask my family and my church for help, I will apply for grants and fill out requests for wish programs, and then I will be honest and let the state know what else I need.
The problem is that for years, parents were greedy and accepted more help that they actually needed, draining the state's financial coffers, because they felt that the government owed them these things. It does not. And if I take more than I actually need for Isaac, then some other child will not get all that they need.
The third step - and I think this is perhaps THE most important one - is to get RID of all of the paper-pushers. There are SO many people, on the payroll of the state of Florida, who stand between Isaac and the political decision-makers. These people are paid a ridiculous amount of money to fill out paperwork. Some of them sit in an office all day, every day, and do nothing. They receive full medical and dental benefits and paid vacations to handle papers or to type on a keyboard.
They might speak to me once a year. Most years, I am the one who has to make that phone call. These people need to be culled. There are too many of them. Keep the ones who are working their tails off, the ones who are already so busy they can never get it all done. Keep the diligent, caring people who do the work, talk to the clients, make the work look easy. They are the ones keeping the system working. They need help, but they don't need it from the desk-jockeys who are just trying to hang on for their full retirement plan to go into effect.
The .5 step is to avoid adding an additional phalanx of federal government workers to these ranks. More bureaucracy is not the answer to this problem.
I realize that society as a whole will not return to moral standards of right and wrong...ever. That does not release me from the responsibility to do right! I must vote my conscience, try to help elect leaders who are morally and fiscally responsible, and give honest answers to the state workers who ask what we need to make Isaac's life safe and as "normal" as possible.
Florida has got to get back on the right track of doing only what is necessary, and of using responsibly the monies available for these children. We need strong leadership in this state, from the governor's office in Tallahassee, on down to the social workers in each county.
I would never want Isaac to live in a nursing home. But I also would not want Washington D.C. in charge of my child's medical welfare. More government is never the answer, and in this case, I believe it would be foolish and ultimately disastrous for the disabled children of the state of Florida.