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Lanterman E-bulletin header for May 17, 2013

Make Your Voices Heard - Help Get Early Start Restored

young children explore music during Lanterman's playgroup

Of all of the cuts imposed on the regional center system in the 2009 budget meltdown, the worst was the elimination of Early Start services for at-risk babies and toddlers. There is now a chance that those Early Start cuts implemented four years ago can be restored this year because of the State's improved budget situation.

Early intervention can save children from a lifetime of disabilities, and is the best investment that California can make in its at-risk children. So make your voices heard, share how Early Start benefited your at-risk child and do your part to get Early Start restored to pre-2009 levels.

Next week, on Monday, May 20 and Wednesday, May 22, two Budget Subcommittees in the Legislature will be finishing their hearings.

Thanks to calls, letters and e-mails, the visibility of the Early Start restoration effort has been raised, but our work is not done. In the upcoming Budget hearings, this critical goal can be accomplished, but only with additional support from you.

The interest is there, but resources are limited. We need to convince the Legislature and the Governor that restoration of Early Start has to be the number one priority.

By acting now, you can help ensure that all children at risk of developmental delays receive the medically appropriate and developmentally necessary treatments and interventions to help them on the path to normal development.

The Governor and the leaders of the Senate and Assembly need to see first-hand that restoring Early Start funding matters deeply.

The Association of Regional Center Agencies has issued an Action Alert with the e-mails of the legislators included in roster format at the bottom, as well as the Governor, Senator Steinberg, Speaker Pérez, and their staff.

View the ARCA Action Alert and roster and share your story of why Early Start matters.
If you click on the e-mail addresses at the bottom, you'll find a short pre-made note asking that Early Start be restored to its pre-2009 levels. Customize this and make it your own. You can also call their offices and ask to speak with the person who advises the legislator on health and human services issues, and tell them how you’ve been affected. Be sure to let the listed consultants know, too.

The Senate Subcommittee meets on Monday, and its Assembly counterpart meets on Wednesday, so don't delay. They will not be taking spoken testimony at the hearings, so writing (or calling) is the best way to make your voice heard.

And when you're done, spread the word. Forward this on to your friends, colleagues and fellow advocates.