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First Look: Coming of age with autism

CARMEL, Ind. — In recent years states facing budget crises have cut spending for agencies that serve people with developmental disabilities. This is at a time when the need for these services is growing. According to the University of Minnesota, the number of people with disabilities is expected to increase by more than 15 percent over the next decade.

For our ongoing series, The Watch List, Need to Know’s Maria Hinojosa spent time with families in Indiana who are fighting to get their children with developmental disabilities the services they need. The climate for them is tough. Over the last three years the state has reduced its funding for the Family and Social Services Administration, the agency that oversees services for people with disabilities, by 25 percent.

For this First Look video, Maria sat down with David Guire and his family in Carmel, Ind. His son Matthew is coming of age with severe autism and requires 24/7 residential care to ensure that he stays safe and is getting the education and treatment he needs. Guire, a single father who works as a diesel technician for the Indiana public school system, depends on state funding to pay for Matthew’s care.

In September, Guire was devastated to hear that the state may no longer pay for 15-year-old Matthew to stay in his current placement, a facility Guire struggled for years to get Matthew in because of the intensive treatment it offers. Guire says he would have to quit his job to care for his son if the state no longer paid for residential care. Matthew and David Guire are not the only ones whose future is uncertain. There are more than 200,000 young people with developmental disabilities nationwide who are coming of age at a time when states are strapped.