NORFOLK — It’s been like tearing apart a family.
That’s how Tonya Klein described cuts currently underway at Envisions Norfolk. The Director operates the agency that serves local individuals who have intellectual disabilities. After current cuts are done, Envisions will no longer offer their level 3 school, will cut all or most of their group homes and let go of a lot of their administrative staff.
What is the community losing when these services go?
“A great opportunity for troubled youth that need schooling that everyone else has given up on,” Klein said. “We don’t give up on anyone here.”
Perhaps the most devastating cut is the loss of the school.
The former level 3 students will start going to a public school on Monday, which means it is possible they won’t get as much attention or one on one support.
“They might have to go and be displaced from the Norfolk area so they can go to a school that can meet their needs,” Klein said.
Klein says the reason for the loss of programs is funding cuts, both from the state and federal level. It started with a big cut in 2014 and more followed. But, Klein wants to reinforce that Envisions is not going away entirely. They will still offer day services for individuals over 21, supportive services for clients who are on their own, extended family homes, and possibly a two out of nine group homes. Klein says the organization is moving forward.
“As any business has to adapt tot the changes,” Klein said. “(We will) really focus on the quality of care that we’re still providing and will continue to provide our clientele.”
Klein encourages people to write to their state officials to reduce cuts to Health and Human Services.