October 28, 2010
The Eagle Tribune Thu Oct 28, 2010, 01:20 AM EDT
To the editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank state Rep. Barbara L’Italien for her outstanding leadership and support for the children and families in our communities. She has been a strong advocate and voice for the early intervention services in Massachusetts.
As the executive director of an agency which has an early intervention program with sites located in Andover and Lawrence, I have had the privilege of serving thousands of children and families over the last thirty seven years. Rep. L’Italien has served our communities well during her tenure as a representative. I am impressed with the way she balances her incredible compassion for children with the ability to craft cost-effective strategies and solutions to ensure that children and families have access to the specialized services we provide.
Rep. L’Italien has worked tirelessly in the Massachusetts House as a champion of all children’s issues. But this year, as vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, she led several initiatives that saved the early intervention system from a devastating budget shortfall. She accomplished this without significant cost increases to the state, including:
Passed first-dollar insurance coverage for early intervention services, which exempts co-payments and deductibles for these services, yielding cost savings to the state and families.
Approved supplemental funding and cost-sharing language to close the budget shortfall.
Implemented the new autism insurance law, which extends insurance coverage for all children and adults with autism.
Rep. L’Italien knows that the services we provide to children and families truly make a difference in their lives and future development. The state’s cost effective investment in early intervention services has generated long-term savings for our local school systems through reduced special education costs. Early intervention is also more cost-effective for health insurers and small businesses than rehabilitation services provided in clinical settings at much greater cost to families and insurance subscribers.
Rep. L’Italien is a true champion for our children and our future.
Veryl D. Anderson
The Professional Center for Child Development