Statement Presented at Hearing on Title XX
August 2, 1975

We are Kitty Cone and Hale Zukas of the Center For Independent Living. The center provides a wide variety of services to the disabled population of Berkeley and surrounding area.

We would like to take this opportunity to offer some comments on the social services program in general and the Homemaker Chore Service program in particular. We would have been glad to comment on the so-called state social services plan had there been something to comment on.

For a disabled person, having someone to assist her or him in the activities of daily living often means the difference between leading an active, constructive life and vegetating in an institution. In recognition of this fact the California legislature, by enacting AB134 and AB853, provided for a comprehensive program of in-home supportive services.

The program established by this legislation would, if fully implemented, meet the needs of the vast majority of disabled people in the state. The state Department of Health, however, has largely abdicated its responsibility to monitor and regulate the program to ensure that it is implemented in accordance with the law. As a result, there is great variation from county to county in the manner and extent to which the program has been put into effect. There have been instances where money has been wasted because of inefficiency, mismanagement, or excessive administrative costs. But more often it is the case that disabled people are not receiving services which they need and are entitled to by law. Yolo county, for example, has imposed a maximum of $150.00 even for the severely impaired and kept the other $300.00 to cover their so-called administrative costs.

It is high time the state assumed its proper role and established meaningful monitoring and control procedures to ensure that appropriate in-home supportive services are provided in an effective and uniform manner throughout the state to all those who need them.

While some savings can be obtained by reducing inefficiency, it is clear that the overall cost of the Homemaker Chore service program is going to increase. (In this connection, it boggles the mind that the administration would ask for $65 million in fiscal year 75-76 for

a program which cost $80 million in fiscal year 74-75 and which has a rising caseload.) AB134 gave the state authority to use other sources of federal funding, principally Medicaid, but the state has not taken advantage of this option. We are well aware that this approach entails a number of problems which need to be carefully dealt with, but it is an approach which should be pursued.

While switching part of the Homemaker Chore Service program to Medicaid funding would alleviate some of the financial pressure, the program will still require increased social services funding. This brings us to the fundamental issue. Planning (or, rather, going through the motions of planning) how to divide an insufficient amount of money among many needy groups is a process designed to make those groups compete and see each other as the enemy. We refuse to play this game.

Presumably much effort has gone into this planning charade, (though this is by no means apparent from the results), yet the state has done little or nothing to try to get an increase in its federal social services allocation. The Brown administration is in an excellent position to provide leadership in the effort to gain enactment of the Cranston/Javits bill, which would raise the federal ceiling on social services funding from $2.5 billion to $4 billion. Unlike California, many states do not use their entire social services allocation. Last fiscal year $500 million of the $2.5 billion went unspent for this reason, the administration should therfore work for the enactment of federal legislation which would allow th reallocation of such unused funds to states which need them.

This is the kind of effort which is needed if effective social services are to be provided to the citizens of California.