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Fight for First Step

February 9, 2005
By: Andrea Ramey
State Capital Bureau

Twenty-eight thousand petitions in support of First Steps were delivered to the governor's office. Andrea Ramey has more the state Capitol.

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First Step supporters crowded in front of the governor's office to convince Blunt not to cut the program's funding. Many parents of special needs children say they do not know where they will turn for financial assistence if the program is cut.

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"It was like being dropped back into the balckhole of when you first find out that you have a child with special needs because all you want to do is help your child be the best that that child can be."

Govenor Blunt says he wants families who now rely on the First Steps program to seek help from private insurace and Medicaid. From the state Capitol, I'm Andrea Ramey.

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Parents of special needs children crowded in front of Governor Blunt's office asking him not to cut the First Steps program.

Andrea Ramey has more from the state Capitol.

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First Steps provides assistance for children with disabilities from birth to age three.

Some parents like Michelle Neely say they do not know where families will turn for financial help if the governor cuts the program.

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"Parents do end up selling their homes and making all sorts of financial sacrifices. You do what you have to do for you kids to the extent that you can, but some people just flat out don't even have those resources."

Parents of children who are in First Steps started an online petition called "save First Steps.com."

They delivered more then 28-thousand petitions to the govenor's office.

From the state Capitol, I'm Andrea Ramey.

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Parents and legislators are preparing for a fight over First Steps.

Andrea Ramey has more from the state Capitol.

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Parents of children receiving aid from First Steps gathered in front of the governor's office to hand deliver 28-thousand petitions.

The petitions asked Governor Blunt to reconsider his proposed cut of the program.

Senator Patrick Dougherty stood beside the parents.

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"We are going to have a year that is very rough. It's going to be a year of fights, but this is an issue of which we intend to fight untill we win."

Some parents say they are worried where they will find the necessary funding since private insurance companies do not cover many of the treatments.

From the state Capitol, I'm Andrea Ramey.