Parents of young children with developmental disabilities may be placed on a waiting list for Fairfax County's Infant Toddler Connection program unless Gov. Bob McDonnell comes through with additional funding for early childhood services.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is appealing to McDonnell for money to support ITC, which is facing a $1 million budget shortfall for the 2013 fiscal year. ITC provides early intervention services for children up to age three who have or are at risk for developmental disabilities including speech, learning and movement.
During its meeting on Tuesday, the Fairfax board voted to send a letter to McDonnell, urging him to increase funding for the ITC program by an additional $8.5 million statewide each year, beginning in 2013. The letter also asks the state to address any additional shortfalls in FY 2014.
ITC funding, which comes from a combination of federal, state and local sources, has been a hot topic in the debate over the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board’s (CSB) budget troubles during the last few months. Supervisor Jeff McKay (Lee) has said immediate intervention can not only save and improve children’s lives, but it can save the county money in the future.
“We have seen enrollment growth of 38 percent in the last two years – our local ITC served 789 children on average each month in FY 2010, growing to 988 children per month in FY 2011 and 1,155 children per month by FY 2012,” reads the letter to McDonnell. “It has become clear that current state funding levels are simply not sufficient to keep pace with existing enrollment growth, in order to adequately support this critical program.”
McDonnell announced Monday that the state posted its third-straight budget surplus, ending FY 2012 with $130 million.
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill) hoped that with a surplus of such magnitude, the state would use the dollars to address citizens’ “urgent needs and look forward to the long-term planning of these services.”
A reserve of $1 million is planned to be included in the county’s FY 2012 budget carryover package, said Chairman Sharon Bulova, in case the county’s advocacy to Richmond doesn’t pan out.