Contact: Lawrence Cook
February 7, 2014
State Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) today announced the formation of a new legislative Intellectual & Developmental Disability Caucus—the first such state-level caucus in the nation—that will fight for the interests of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
“I’ve been meeting with families in my district on these issues for many months. Their stories and their personal situations are heartbreaking,” Sen. Bye said. “It is my hope that working together, we can improve the lives of them and their loved ones.”
The announcement comes at critical time for Connecticut families who are receiving or waiting for services from the state Department of Developmental Services. Many families have voiced their fears for the future of their children after they are gone, and are now sharing their stories with legislators.
Sen. Bye will co-chair the newly formed, 27-member I/DD Caucus along with state Representatives John Hampton (D-Simsbury) and Jay Case (R-Winsted). The first order of business for the newly formed Caucus was to conduct a two-hour informational hearing with the families of, and advocates for, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
About 100 families submitted written testimony, including several from West Hartford: parents of two children with Fragile X Syndrome, the father of a four-year old diagnosed as autistic, legally blind and apraxia, and the parents of a 30-year-old who has been waiting for DSS housing for at least 12 years.
“The Arc will continue to work with families, other organizations supporting people with disabilities and the state Department of Developmental Services to reinvent a system of support that serves everyone who needs it,” said Leslie Simoes, Executive Director of The Arc of Connecticut, who organized today’s informational forum.
The Arc of Connecticut advocates for and supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses.
Vice Chair: Children
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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