BY NATASHA ACRIE
Advocates are demanding Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to keep her promise to thousands of children in the county in need of Pre-school Special Education Services.
They spoke out at Tuesday's Monroe County Legislature meeting.
They said a lack of funding in Monroe County and across the state put hundreds of children with disabilities and special needs on a waiting list for a variety of critical services. Parents, service providers and early childhood care advocates rallied together at the meeting calling on the County Executive to fulfill her promise of a 15 percent reimbursement rate increase across the board.
Parents said the bi-partisan promise Dinolfo made in March doesn't cover certain service providers, and they want change now.
"These are 3-5 year old children who maybe have a speech issue that need a few months of speech therapy and will then be ready to go for kindergarten,” said Brigit Hurley, advocacy director at the Children’s Agenda. “It could be a child with multiple disabilities who needs therapy."
"From a mom's perspective that almost lost their child if I did not have the support of that system; there's 198 children that could potentially not be here,” said parent Brittany Jencik. “It's scary to me as a parent. On a much broader level it does make the difference for these children."
Dinolfo was in attendance, however she didn't provide a statement as of yet in response to the advocates' concerns.