Protect Funding for ECI Respite Services

July 24, 2020

Jolene Sanders-Foster
Advocacy Director

read time 2-3 minutes

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provides an array of family-centered home-based and virtual services that support the wellbeing of children and families, ensuring that kids with deveolopmental delays or disabilities are school ready and families are connected to resources. In light of the flexibilities authorized by Governor Greg Abbott and rapid action by ECI providers, these services have continued to provide a lifeline for families during the COVID-19 crisis.

Last month, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) recommended a cut to funding for ECI respite services, a critical service within the program aimed at alleviating stress on families and reducing the risk of child abuse.

The Governor and Legislative Budget Board (LBB) should reject this recommendation and defend the wellbeing of Texas families of young children with disabilities and developmental delays.

ECI respite gives short-term relief and support to families dealing with the stress and around-the-clock responsibility of caring for a family member with a disability. By decreasing toxic stress and supporting a family’s emotional and mental health, respite establishes key preventive factors against child abuse. Respite services are available for approximately 2,000 ECI families a year, and for those fortunate families, the service is critical.

In light of the recent Court Monitors’ report showing that Texas still has ongoing issues that put children at risk for abuse and neglect, cutting ECI respite services right now would be moving in the wrong direction. The unprecedented circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many families to face additional stressors, such as job loss, decreased income, loss of healthcare, housing instability, and lack of childcare, all risk factors for abuse and neglect.

Yesterday, CTD and our partners (listed below) sent a letter to the Governor and the LBB with our recommendation to protect funding for ECI respite services and ensure that there are no cuts to these critical ECI services. Read the full letter

Our ECI partners & co-signers

Any Baby Can
Autism Society of Texas
Central Counties Services
Easterseals Central Texas
Family to Family Network
Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center
Texans Care for Children
Texas Council for Community Centers
Texas Parent to Parent

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