The Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) hosted a “Day of Action” for Intellectual/Developmental Disability (I/DD) Awareness Month in the rotunda of the Rhode Island State House on Thursday. CPNRI represents twenty-three private providers of services and supports to more than 3,500 people with developmental disabilities in RI. Over 300 people attended the event, wearing bright green shirts.

CPNRI writes, “We recognize that Rhode Islanders with disabilities and their families – our neighbors – are in jeopardy and depend on all of us to ensure that their basic health and safety needs are met. As a result of chronic underfunding the I/DD system has reached a tipping point. We must make critical investments to prevent the harm of thousands of Rhode Islanders and their families.”

State legislators Senator Louis DiPalma (Democrat, District 12, Little Compton, Middletown) and Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) spoke of the need to adequately fund programs in the state budget to “support the health and safety of people with I/DD through stabilizing Rhode Island’s I/DD services.”

Parent David Graves also expressed his concerns with the proposed budget. “As the parents of a child with cerebral palsy, we know how critically important it is for agencies caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to hire and retain qualified staff. With the spending cuts outlined in the proposed state budget this will become impossible, and will put the emotional and physical well being of our daughter and others in jeopardy.”

Pam Goes is a parent with two sons requiring care:

Beth Bouthilette is a woman with disabilities and a self-advocate:

Here’s the rest of the video from the event:

Donna Martin, Director of Community Provider Network of Rhode Island:

Kerri Zanchi on behalf of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH):

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