Home > Uncategorized > State House approves cuts to DDS day program funding, increases for provider group homes

State House approves cuts to DDS day program funding, increases for provider group homes

In approving a state budget plan for Fiscal Year 2022, the Massachusetts House late last week largely followed Governor Baker’s lead with regard to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).
Both the House and governor’s budget proposals involve cutting funding for DDS community-based day programming, state-run group homes, and the two remaining developmental centers. Meanwhile, funding would be boosted, as has been the case for the past decade, for corporate provider-run group homes.
The budget deliberations will now be taken up by the Senate.
Community-Based Day Program cuts
The House did make a few tweaks to the governor’s proposals for DDS. In its budget plan, the House added $15 million to the governor’s proposed funding for the Community-Based Day and Work (CBDW) program line item (5920-2025). However, even the House funding would involve a significant cut of $19 million, or 8%, to the line item from the current year.
In his budget proposal in January, Baker specified a $34.6 million, or 14%, cut in the CBDW line item.
The House budget states that the $15 million added back to the CBDW line item would primarily be for the development of services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those services were listed as including remote and virtual day program supports, and “in-home or in-community services.”   
We have previously reported that the COVID crisis resulted in a major shift to remote attendance in the CBDW programs via platforms such as Zoom. As of November 2020, 36% of day program clients were attending remotely only, according to the March 9 DDS data. 
The proposed cuts in the CBDW line item would appear to signal further bad news for integrated employment prospects for DDS clients because the CBDW line item is used, in part, to fund job skills training and other activities to help clients make the transition to the mainstream workforce.
We also previously reported that DDS data revealed a 53% drop-off in “group and individual supported employment” among clients between October 2019 and February 2020.
Along with the cut to the CBDW program account, the House plan would cut the DDS transportation line item by $6.2 million, or 18.6%. That would not be as deep a cut as the governor’s January proposal to cut the transportation line item by nearly 40%.
Corporate-provider group home funding would be increased while state-operated group home funding would be cut
The House adopted the governor’s proposed funding increase for corporate provider-run group homes of $120.7 million, or 9.4% (line item 5920-2000). But as we previously reported, that may be an understatement of the increase sought by Baker. The nonpartisan Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center has pegged that proposed increase at $157 million, or 12.2%. 
If the Senate concurs with the proposed increase, the corporate provider line item would be funded at more than $1.4 billion, which would represent a 91% increase over the funding appropriated for the same line item a decade previously, in Fiscal 2012.
Funding for state-funded group homes and developmental centers, in contrast, have been on a relatively flat or downward trajectory respectively, and Fiscal 2022 would be no different. (See graph below.)
Source: Mass. Budget and Policy Center

The House budget would add $100,000 to the governor’s proposed Fiscal 2022 funding for state-operated group homes (line item 5920-2010). However, when adjusted for inflation, even the House budget proposal would amount to a cut in funding for this line item of somewhat less than 1%. (We are basing that assessment on numbers from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center’s “Budget Browser.”)

The two remaining developmental centers would similarly see their funding cut in Fiscal Year 2022 by $2.1 million under the House budget, when adjusted for inflation (line item 5930-1000). Since Fiscal 2012, funding for the developmental center line item will have been cut by 32%.

COFAR is continuing to raise concerns regarding the ongoing under-funding of state-run DDS programs. We believe this has led to unchecked privatization of programs and services.

We are also concerned that even within provider accounts, we may be seeing a permanent pullback in funding for day programming, with much of that funding ultimately going to provider-run group homes.

Last month, we sent an issue paper raising those concerns, among others, to Senator Adam Gomez and Representative Michael Finn, the new chairs of the Legislature’s Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities committee. You can find our issue paper here.

  1. May 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Are Day Services a Right or a Privilege? How is it that Progressives — it is said of them that they care — can support the cuts? What is it about the For Profit providers that they have and are getting increases? How do they fit in the picture? Good guy — or like the Charter Schools — providing care to the easy while ignoring those in need? Where is the Disability Law Center on this? Are the For Profits integrated?? If not they should be all over them, should they not?

    Just wondering Peace Tom Spellman


  2. gael79
    May 5, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Finally some Riverside clients returned to day program. Overjoyed!
    Unfortunately working at program on hold so clients are so sad about that. They were looking forward to earning money again as residential weekly spending money is insufficient.
    Can they get unemployment due to loss of earnings from covid?


  3. Jim Callahan
    May 9, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Where can I see the analysis or get the data to analyze the cost of serving the various types of individual ( developmentally disabled and those with autism) over the past ten years.


  4. Lynn Royal
    May 11, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    What can we do that is different than what we have been doing the past 30+ years to get the attention of our state legislators? And to see forward action on behalf of our /DD adult/children?
    Is it possible that this continues to be done, without verification, without a comprehensive study and without serious consideration of those they affect each and every day?
    Can’t help but wonder.


  5. Danielle Sullivan
    September 17, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    I am highly doubtful that the “March 9 DDS data” stating “36% of day program clients were attending remotely only” is accurate. Unless it doesn’t include those who are not attending AT ALL, remote or in-person. Which seems to be a really underhanded way to report the data. Everyone that I know who has a child with DDS services remains without day services, Since March 10, 2020. I would like the data on individuals that are attending in person. Why is that not reported? Because it is also around 36%? That data is more valuable.
    Somehow business have reopened, but DDS has failed to provide guidance or support to vendors, and has failed to set expectations for vendors to increase their capacity. There is money allocated to my adult child; where is it going? Five years ago DDS did not care to share information about self-directed services because it moved the funding out of their coffers and went to the person. Now they are throwing self-directed services” at people as if it is a viable option, when there are no staff to be found. The system has been broken for a long time and it is about time that persons served and their families led the way to create viable options for support in our communities.


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