Public Policy and Practice   |   Update: Jan. 12, 2011

State budget cuts will affect your practice.

This week, Governor Brown announced his plan to close California's $28 billion budget deficit, and behavior analysts need to be worried. With the state in a fiscal crisis, Brown followed through on his promise to cut spending for virtually every government-funded service. Unfortunately, services for California's citizens with developmental disabilities were hit particularly hard.

Despite the moral and legal obligation to provide services and supports that meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in our state, human and social services have historically been the first to be cut. As anticipated, Brown's proposed budget, released on Monday, January 10th, includes a $750 million cut to the Department of Developmental Services, the agency that provides services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities through state-operated developmental centers and community facilities, and the regional center system. Among the many ways put forth to realize a $750 million spending reduction, of particular importance to behavior analysts are the continuation of the temporary 4.25% provider payment reduction in fiscal year 2011-2012 and the development and implementation of statewide service standards that set parameters and the array of services available through the regional centers.

Unfortunately, services for individuals with developmental disabilities have already been the brunt of significant funding cuts in the recent past. Many behavior analysts in the state have reported how these cuts have impacted their ability to provide services that best meet the needs of individuals they serve. Additional cuts, such as the ones proposed in the Governor's budget, put the more than 246,000 children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities in California at even greater risk of not receiving the services and supports they require to lead more independent and productive lives.

Clearly, this latest round of budget cuts will further strain these public institutions. As long as our profession has no organized voice in the Capital, budget cuts will always threaten our practice.

We must find new sources of funding for our services.

This budget crisis highlights how important it is for behavior analysts to find new sources of funding for our services. Relying solely on public institutions to fund our services is no longer an option; it forces us to fight with other worthy causes over a shrinking pool of public dollars.

Getting insurance companies to cover treatment based on applied behavior analysis remains one of our profession's most promising alternatives. Unfortunately, insurance companies continue to fight relentlessly to prevent that from happening.

That's why CalABA has launched the CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE, the largest grassroots organizing campaign in our organization's history. We must get organized now in order to confront the challenges we face this year.

Lack of funding is only one of the many challenges we face, and getting organized will give us the strength we need to solve these problems. It will allow us to effectively advocate for increased public funding for individuals with developmental disabilities. It will help us clear the legal hurdles necessary to get insurance companies to cover our services. It will help us gain legal recognition of our profession.

Getting organized starts with YOU.

Learn more about the challenges our profession faces and about our legislative goals by visiting our website, and by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Educate your colleagues and clients about our challenges and explain how these challenges personally affect their lives. Contribute financially as much as you can. Financial support helps fund our organizing and lobbying efforts.