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Family Support Program affected by budget cuts

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Family Support Program affected by budget cuts

By Nancy Bright, TYPESETTER

 

  By NANCY BRIGHT nancy@lafollettepress.com   While Ginger Muse’s 17-month-old daughter was in the hospital on a ventilator with a tracheotomy, the heat went out at home. This left Muse wondering how she was going to have a warm house to take her sick child back to. Her answer came while talking with a social worker at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The social worker referred Muse to the Family Support Program. The Family Support Program, a branch of the Emory Valley Center, along with another agency was able to have a new heat system in place when Muse brought her daughter, Alissa home. The program has continued to maintain contact with Muse to see if it could help the family further. The Muse family is not alone in receiving much needed support at the right time. The FSP helps many families in many ways and with recent budget cuts these families are left saying “Now what do we do?” stated Nancy Vanderlan, of FSP. The family support program, which was first created in 1988 to serve individuals with disabilities and their families, has fallen victim to the hard economic times and budgetary cuts. The program is currently in its last year of operation beginning July 1 due to a loss of funding. The program was cut because it relied purely on state dollars, according to Vanderlan. The Department of Mental Retardation received a 52- percent budget cut. Currently 15 families in Campbell County receive assistance from this program with 34 individuals with severe disabilities on the waiting list. The program ranges from monthly support to one time assistance. The program was created to support families who have school-aged or younger children with severe disabilities; adults with severe disabilities who choose to live with their families; adults with severe disabilities not supported by other residential programs funded by state or federal funds. Services can include but are not limited to respite care, day care services, home modifications, equipment, supplies, personal assistance, transportation, homemaker services, housing costs, health-related needs, nursing and counseling. With the loss of this program many families will suffer extreme economic hardship, Vanderlan said.     To comment on this story and others visit www.lafollettepress.com