There was a public hearing on LD 632 last week and the voices of hundreds of parents who would be effected by this legislation were not heard.

LD 632 basically removes a provision of the Child Development Services (CDS) statute that allowed parents of young children with disabilities to remain in CDS services instead of heading off to Kindergarten to receive services there. To qualify for this choice, children must turn age 5 between July 1 and Oct. 15 of any given year.

Referrals to CDS have soared these past several years while services available have decreased in many areas. Unfortunately, this means that hundreds of children, right now, are going without services of any kind and many have been waiting all year for something to happen.

Meanwhile, CDS is serving 128 children this year whose parents decided to keep their children in CDS instead of receiving special education in the public schools. That means that 128 of our children on a waiting list for services could have been served and were not. It means the parents of these children get no choice at all while parents of children born between July 1 and Oct. 15 get two choices. I don’t think anyone would argue that this is somehow fair.

There simply are not enough therapists and programs to serve all the young children with disabilities. Let’s at least be compassionate and smart enough to free up those 128 slots so at least that many children could start with services sooner rather than later.

The children with birth dates of July 1-Oct. 15 could still receive special education services in the public schools and not have to go without. Isn’t that the best move for all concerned?

Lewis Collins

Hallowell


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