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Disability Funding Advocates Seek Answers From Candidates

Candidates criticized the lack of funding for mental health services, as well as a lack of access to transportation.

Candidates

Photo: Kyle Clayton/Indiana Public Media

(from left) Reid Dallas, Mark Stoops and Shelli Yoder were among the candidates responding to questions Tuesday concerning the funding of services for those with disabilities.

Funding for mental health services has decreased in Indiana over the past three years.  According to one watchdog group, Indiana has cut $4.1 million since 2009.  Democrat and Republican Indiana House candidates supported allocating more resources to education and social services associated with developmental disabilities during a candidate forum Tuesday night. District 60 State Representative Peggy Welch says cuts in funding will only cost more later.

“Pay me now or pay me later.  If we don’t provide that treatment and invest that money in taking care of folks we’re going to be taking care of them because they’re homeless, because they’re committing crimes, they’re going to be in our jails,” Welch says.

Republican challenger and Morgan County Clerk Peggy Mayfield says the biggest challenge facing mental health services is where to find money.

“That’s clearly the overriding theme here, but I think some of the underlying issues that will help address that are public education, educating the public to the needs of the disabled community,” Mayfield says.

Mayfield says close collaboration with mental health agencies would be essential in determining how money should be allocated.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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