State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) applauded the passage of a landmark bill Monday night that would improve state delivered services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

An Act Concerning Services for Individuals with Intellectual Disability, S.B. 294, will improve both the way the state manages waiting lists for individuals with intellectual disabilities and the way it keeps the families who care for these individuals informed. It does this through a four-pronged approach:

  • The bill requires the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to provide families with a copy of the needs assessment document for each individual on the waiting list for services, including scoring results, comments, a summary report, and any other relevant information.
  • It requires DDS to provide families information on each individual’s priority status on the waiting list. DDS must also disclose the amount of funding budgeted for each service, allowing individuals and families to also see the cost associated with the services they need.
  • It prohibits DDS from removing individuals from the waiting list for services without their consent.
  • The bill also requires DDS to give at least 90 days’ notice to individuals with intellectual disabilities before they become ineligible for state-assisted care, and then to locate and secure private funding for care or services.

“Families of people with intellectual disabilities have told us how frustrated they have been by lack of information and by the long wait for services that never seem to materialize,” Lavielle said. “These are people who work hard, who have other family duties, and who worry constantly about ensuring that their intellectually disabled loved ones are cared for. This legislation makes DDS accountable for helping them plan ahead and for making the process of receiving services transparent and easy to understand. This legislation makes a real difference for individuals with intellectual disabilities. We can never do enough to reassure these families, but this bill is an important step forward in reestablishing open communication, rigorous processes, and trust.”

SB 294 passed the House unanimously and now heads to the Governor’s desk where it awaits passage into law. Rep. Lavielle was an early co-sponsor of the bill.

The 2016 legislative session will adjourn on Wednesday, May 4.

State Rep. Gail Lavielle represents Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton. She is Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and a member of the Appropriations and Transportation Committees.