The Norman Transcript


April 28, 2013

State paid developmental disabilities waiting list growing longer



Felty and her family live near Little Axe. White receives in-home care from a provider agency during the day, allowing Felty to work. Felty has since made it her mission to help others on the waiting list.

“I don’t want another family to ever get that close and think that nobody cares,” Felty said.

Lee said the waiting-list issue comes down to money.

“We can’t say (to those on the waiting list), ‘Yes, you will get services,’ or, ‘No, you won’t,’ until we work the case,” Lee said, “and we can’t work the case until there’s money there provided by the Legislature.”

Last year, the total budget for services provided by waivers was $403 million, of which about 70 percent came from the state and the rest from the federal government, according to DHS.

“There’s not money there to provide the services,” Lee said. “We work as many as we can given what we have.”


Life on the list

Duane and Danielle Howell of Yukon have four children. The three oldest boys — 11-year-old triplets named Jacob, Keegan and Harrison — have been diagnosed with autism spectrum and qualify as intellectually disabled.

They also have disabilities ranging from spina bifida to apraxia.

The family has dealt with regular trips to school to address issues that arise, hospital and therapy visits and efforts to qualify for SoonerCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to pay for treatments. As a result, Duane had to quit his job as a homebuilder to be a full-time caregiver for his children.

“She jokes about me being a domestic diva,” Duane said, turning to his wife, a teacher, “but we’re not above anything when it comes to their well-being.”

Duane said he would like to return to work, but can’t until daytime services for his children are in place.

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