California disabled 'crisis' should serve as a wake-up call for the nation, advocate says

(Joni and Friends)

AUGORA HILLS, Calif. (Christian Examiner) -- As the father of a child with developmental disabilities, I am grateful to live in a country founded on Judeo-Christian values that upholds the inherent dignity and worth of all people, including those with disabilities.

As a part of our core fabric of who we are as a nation, expressing these values includes proper and right treatment of those who are weak or vulnerable as a result of their disability. This expression in practical and meaningful terms results in a variety of residential and social services that helps maintain quality of life for many who simply desire to be a part of their communities and function like others in society.

(Joni and Friends)Steve Bundy, VP, Christian Institute on Disability, Joni and Friends

This is why I am deeply concerned over Governor Brown's budget revision proposal that would decrease funding and support in California for those with developmental disabilities.

Over the years, funding in California for services for the disabled has been slashed by over $1 billion, placing those with developmental disabilities in "crisis." A report by the Association of Regional Center Agencies titled, "On the Brink of Collapse," gives a strong warning to those in legislation that the developmental services system in California is in need of increased funding to avoid a total system meltdown.

For those who may not be California residents, let me encourage you to not turn a deaf ear to this crisis. The California social services system has in many ways served as a model for other states in determining funding structures and services provided. It should be alarming to you that a state that for years has been held as a 'model state' for inclusion and care of the disabled is slowly depleting the resources to this vulnerable population.
- Steve Bundy, VP, Christian Institute on Disability, Joni and Friends

For those who may not be California residents, let me encourage you to not turn a deaf ear to this crisis. The California social services system has in many ways served as a model for other states in determining funding structures and services provided. It should be alarming to you that a state that for years has been held as a "model state" for inclusion and care of the disabled is slowly depleting the resources to this vulnerable population.

Even more so, it should bring alarm to all of us as Christians and Americans when our government has such misplaced priorities.

Should not those who are most susceptible to abuse, mistreatment and marginalization be given high priority to make sure their rights, dignity and potential are recognized and properly supported in light of being a "nation under God?"

What does godly leadership look like? You need go no further than the words the Lord spoke over King Josiah who ruled Judah with righteousness, "'He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?' declares the Lord" (Jer. 22:16).

For residents of California, if you would like your voice to be heard as one who "defends the cause of the poor and needy," I encourage you to contact your State Senate and Assembly representatives. You can do so by clicking here and inserting your area of residence. I encourage you to let them know you are concerned about the limited funding of the California developmental services system and support increasing funding.

And for all of us who call upon the name of the Lord...let's join our voices in prayer that God will move on the hearts of men and women in positions of legislative authority to "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God" (Micah 6:8).

Steve Bundy is vice president of Christian Institute on Disability for Joni and Friends, a Southern California based ministry.