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Parents speak out against Blunt's proposal to eliminate First Steps

February 9, 2005
By: Josh Hinkle
State Capital Bureau

Parents of severely challenged infants and toddlers lined the halls of the Missouri State Capitol, anxious to speak out against Gov. Blunt's budget proposal.

Josh Hinkle reports from the state Capitol.

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In a House committee hearing, well over 100 parents and their children gathered to protest Gov. Blunt's proposal to eliminate the more than $17 million First Steps program from state spending.

Julie Dominique's son Bobby has cerebral palsy... something she says her son never could've lived with... without First Steps.

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First Steps helps more than 8,000 children with such conditions as Down syndrome, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

Cutting the program would cost children like Dominique's son Bobby his therapy sessions... and many insurance plans don't cover such disabilities.

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Gov. Blunt's budget proposal is not sitting well with the parents of severly challenged children.

Josh Hinkle reports from the state Capitol.

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Members of a House committee listened to witness testimony from parents who are outraged at Gov. Blunt's proposal to cut the First Steps program.

Julie Dominique's son Bobby has cerebral palsy... she says First Steps helped her family when no one else could.

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Cutting the program would affect more than 8,000 children with such conditions as Down syndrome, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

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Missouri House members met with more than 100 parents of severly challenged children upset over Gov. Blunt's budget proposal.

Josh Hinkle reports from the state Capitol.

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Parents of severely challenged children testified before a House committee against Gov. Blunt's proposal to eliminate the First Steps program.

First Steps helps more than 8,000 children with conditions like Down syndrome, spina bifida... and in the case of Julie Dominique's son Bobby... cerebral palsy.

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A team of therapists work with Bobby weekly, something that stands to be eliminated under Gov. Blunt's proposal.

Some lawmakers say families should instead turn to insurance to pay for these treatments... but many insurance plans in Missouri don't cover such disabilities.