Community services for developmentally disabled deserve support

On behalf of the nearly 700 employees (about 85% of whom are direct support staff) and the nearly 3,000 individuals and families receiving community-based support services from The Arc of Baltimore, we offer a huge and hearty thanks to Sen. Thomas M. "Mac" Middleton for his leadership and support for the nonprofit organizations like ours who are dedicated to providing exemplary services to individuals and families affected by developmental disabilities ("Md. must support community care for the disabled," April 1). The measure he is advancing is long overdue and critical to the long term viability of community-based services.

Effective and responsive community-based services depend on a partnership between provider agencies (like ours) and the state of Maryland. Through these difficult economic times, we remain committed to carrying out our role of daily support to this vulnerable population. The O'Malley administration needs to step up and properly fulfill its role as our partner by ensuring reasonable financial support for the work we do at a cost far below what it would be if the state attempted to do it on its own.

We look forward to the rest of the General Assembly and the governor joining our champions like Senator Middleton, Sen. Ed Kasemeyer and Del. Robert Costa in solidifying our partnership.

Steve Morgan, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of The Arc of Baltimore Inc.

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