Rochester, N.Y. — Families and community leaders are banding together in a collective call for help.
The Children’s Agenda is pleading for the governor and state lawmakers to confront the shortage of service providers in the early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.
Families say wait times are hurting their children.
“We don’t have the providers that we need,” said parent Qutisha Britt. “We have support in the (Rochester) City School District, with the social workers and everybody else that they have lined up for us, but we need more support from our doctors and our providers.”
Assemblyman Josh Jensen shared his own story about how his life has been impacted by early intervention services.
“I didn’t speak until I was 5 years old,” Jensen said. “And if I would not have received speech therapy services at that early age, I know that I would not have found a voice to speak on behalf of the people that I have the honor and privilege to represent today.”
Jensen said his son also needs early intervention and was lucky to be able to receive services at his day care.
“If there wouldn’t have already been a speech therapist at that location,” Jensen said, “my son would have been like so many other children in our community, and in our state, who are not able to access critically important early intervention services that can make their life better.”
The Children’s Agenda is asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to include a funding increase in her proposed state budget.
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The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.