Letter: ‘Paying parents (of special needs children) is a critical necessity’

January 22, 2023

There are two bills this legislative session addressing the need to pay parent caregivers of children with disabilities.

There is a program through Medicaid that provides in-home caregivers for children that are determined by a thorough assessment to have significant extra-care needs due to a disability. 

There is a shortage of caregivers to fill these roles, leaving many families unable to locate any non-family caregivers for the service offered to their child, and the parents providing all care without pay.  Additionally, there are many kids for whom a frequent rotation of non-family caregivers is not safe and appropriate due to immunocompromising conditions or the child’s mental health condition. 

These Medicaid programs are also meant to allow choice of providers to the individual receiving services, and parents are a valid choice that must be honored. Current rules allow payment to anyone except parents or felons for these caregiving positions. 

Paying parents is a critical necessity to alleviate the above barriers to access vital services. Paying parents helps keep kids out of hospitals or more expensive institutional placements, which is better for children, saves the taxpayer money, and increases the parents’ capacity to continue providing caregiving long term.

Sen. Knopp’s (R) Bill 646 covers more disabled children and provides the taxpayer with the greatest value. I support and encourage others to support Bill 646. For more info, I encourage readers to look up Advocates for Disability Supports.  

Lisa Tschudi

Phoenix

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