Friday, August 28, 2009

Trachtenberg Opposes Disability Budget Cuts

County Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg, Chair of the council's Management and Fiscal Policy Committee, has taken a strong stand against the state's budget cuts to disability programs. Following is her press release.

Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg Warns Maryland Budget Savings Plan Could Be Devastating in Montgomery

Says Cuts Will Put Essential Family Services Such as Developmental Disability, Cancer Screening Programs at Risk

ROCKVILLE, Md., August 28, 2009—Montgomery County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At Large) said today that the projected mid-year Fiscal Year 2010 cuts to the State of Maryland’s health and human services budget announced this week “will put essential family services, such as development disability and cancer screening programs, at risk.”

“Significant cuts to programs that meet the basic and critical needs of the most vulnerable are intolerable,” said Councilmember Trachtenberg, who is a member of the County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and chairs the Management and Fiscal Policy Committee. “We can’t turn back the clock on modern methods of preventive health and community-based supports for those most in need just because no one can afford a media campaign to defend them. Over the course of the next few weeks, our voices must become theirs and the vulnerable must be heard in the halls of Rockville and Annapolis.”

“These highly vulnerable citizens are not strangers,” Councilmember Trachtenberg said of the individuals who will be impacted by the reductions. “They are our parents and grandparents—the neighbors, the babysitters, the students, the workers we meet every day. And they deserve our help.

“Those who serve in State and County governments are obligated to help children with developmental disabilities and provide them with resources so they can achieve their highest potential and contribute to their communities. It's at a difficult economic time like this that the vulnerable and their families depend on government for reliable assistance and unwavering support.”

Councilmember Trachtenberg is urging officials on the State and County level to also examine the “value per dollar” of investment in preventive services, specifically cancer screening and tobacco cessation programming, and the devastating impact cutting those investments can have on society as a whole. “The public health equation always puts prevention first and that means it remains a health priority not a budget concession,” said Councilmember Trachtenberg.

Councilmember Trachtenberg, herself a professional clinical therapist who specialized in adolescent addiction, has long championed mental health, public health and social services. Councilmember Trachtenberg continues to work with service providers and health consumers to achieve the best possible care and to prioritize the growing needs of the vulnerable.

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