DIDD budget hearing: No improvements, maybe more cuts

On the heels of an audit critical of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for not providing adequate services to people in its care, agency officials on Wednesday presented a budget plan for next year that could cut services even more.

Further from The Tennessean:

Department head Debra Payne outlined what a $15 million cut in state funds would look like for an agency that serves 8,000 state residents and has an additional 7,100 people on a waiting list for services. Cuts could include ending services to families caring for adults with disabilities at home and downsizing a program that investigates abuse and neglect.

The budget plan is preliminary, part of a series of provisional 5 percent budget reduction plans presented by all state agencies at the governor’s request.

Regardless of whether Gov. Bill Haslam ultimately cuts existing services, the proposed budget made clear that department officials have no immediate plans to provide services to thousands of state residents with developmental disabilities. It’s a population that includes people with spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other disabilities who currently have no agency programs or funding designated to aid them — despite a state law requiring DIDD to provide such assistance.