February 23, 2011
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
Speaker, New York State Assembly
932 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Dear Speaker Silver:
I am writing regarding the proposed cuts to the Early Intervention program outlined in the Governor’s FY11-12 budget. Early Intervention programs provide vital services to children with disabilities and these services directly correlate with increased mobility and independence later in life.
This year’s budget strikes another blow to the Early Intervention system by reducing funding for Early Intervention providers by 10%. This latest cut comes on top of the 10% the system absorbed in last year’s budget. In addition, this budget proposal changes the billing structure, from 59 minutes of billable time to now only 15 minutes of billable time. This change to the billing increments forces providers to reduce the time spent with a child and represents a further reduction in services provided.
We understand New York State is facing an enormous budget deficit, but this latest proposal threatens the independence of children with disabilities throughout New York State. Without such services children will fall behind their peers, and the cost to New York State will be even greater.
I urge you to oppose cuts to the Early Intervention program. Please feel free to contact me or our Senior Vice President, Chief Professional Affairs Officer, Cynthia Stuen, PhD, at 212-821-9484.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Mark G. Ackermann
President and CEO