Dear editor,



The Chanute Tribune 12/24/08 edition contained a letter to the editor from Frank Springer, Chairman of the Board, KETCH (Kansas Elks Training Center for the Handicapped) describing the dire situation facing persons with developmental disabilities and the organizations that support them in community services. Mr. Springer says:

Dear editor,

The Chanute Tribune 12/24/08 edition contained a letter to the editor from Frank Springer, Chairman of the Board, KETCH (Kansas Elks Training Center for the Handicapped) describing the dire situation facing persons with developmental disabilities and the organizations that support them in community services. Mr. Springer says:

“Imagine if you needed emergency care for your child, and you sped to the emergency room only to be told…that you’d need to wait two to three years for help…or longer.” Over 3,800 children and adults with disabilities are in need of services, but are on a “waiting list”. The 2008 Kansas Legislature appropriated only enough funds to serve 34 persons from this list.  Even if the Legislature chose to fund the entire waiting list, community providers would be unable to adequately provide needed services because they lack the capacity, due to decades of underfunding.  Direct Service Professionals (DSPs) provide the care that keeps Kansans with disabilities out of costly institutions. Providers face a constant battle with high turnover and staff shortages due to the inability to pay reasonable wages. DSPs are paid around $ 7.00 to $ 8.50 per hour in southeast Kansas, compared to a starting wage of $ 12.35 for DSPs who work in a State institution. Providers are dependent upon the State as their sole payer and determiner of rates for services. Only with increases in funding rates for community based services can providers hope to offer more competitive wages for their staff. 

Cliff Sperry, Pittsburg
VP for Administration, CLASS LTD