Brighton Center Visits Austin To talk to lawmakers about the importance of early intervention
On March 2, Brighton Center’s CEO, Kim Jefferies and Early Childhood Intervention Director (ECI), Holly Grogan, visited lawmakers in Austin to remind them of the importance of early intervention services for babies and toddlers. After a $350 million budget cut went into effect in December, affecting an estimated 60,000 special needs children in Texas, Brighton wanted to remind lawmakers of the significance of providing early childhood intervention services to children ages 0-3. “Providing much need services to our most vulnerable population makes sense on so many levels, including a financial one. For every $1 invested by the state on early intervention services, there is up to a $17 return. This return is yielded because early intervention services between drastically reduces the rate of special services these children will need in the future.” Brighton Center’s Early Childhood Intervention program (ECI) provides home-based therapy services to 1,700 babies and toddlers (ages 0-3) every year throughout Bexar County. 66% of the families that are served through this program are on Medicaid and when Medicaid reimbursement rates were cut in December 2016, therapy services were cut by an average of 25%. A 25% reduction has been a devastating cut to Brighton’s ECI program and the children that are served. In order to maintain the high quality level of services that children with disabilities and delays deserve, Brighton’s therapists and early intervention specialists have worked tirelessly to serve more children, provide more services and are doing so even with less resources now available. However, this model of care is not sustainable and the organization expects a potential $190,000 loss in 2017 alone. As a program that has operated with a balanced budget for almost 30 years, this kind of deficit could have enormous impact on our agency that collectively serves more than 2,500 children with disabilities and delays every year. Brighton is committed to working alongside state lawmakers to ensure our children are given every opportunity to succeed and will seek additional support from the San Antonio community to ensure that every child in need of early intervention services gets what they need.