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Colorado Is Average When Caring For People With Disabilities

Colorado ranked 27th in the nation for services provided to residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, known collectively as IDD.

The Case for Inclusion 2019 ranks states on policies and programs that provide support to help individuals with IDD lead more independent and productive lives. The report, compiled by the ANCOR Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy, scored states on five factors including promoting independence and keeping families together.

In 2007 Colorado ranked 8th. One reason for the drop, according to the report, is that the state scored next-to-last in providing services designed to help individuals live at home with their families.

Esmé Grant Grewal, vice president for government relations of ANCOR, said there are not enough workers to provide in-home care.

"That is when you start to see the transition to hospital settings and nursing homes," she said. "We have a big, big workforce crisis and can't fill spaces and certainly can't compensate at a fair level."

Colorado came in 40th in tracking health, safety and quality of life. Individuals with IDD filled out a survey that asked about social interaction and medical visits. Only 70 percent of Coloradans said they had a recent dental visit compared to the national average of 81 percent.

"Dental care is a big predictor of other health issues and has been very problematic for people with IDD," Grewal said.

The state received high marks in promoting productivity and independence factors. It also has one of the highest percentages of job placements for vocational rehabilitation participants. However, these individuals worked fewer hours per week and were paid a lower hourly wage than the national average.

The “American Dream” was coined in 1931 and since then the phrase has inspired people to work hard and dream big. But is it achievable today? Graduating from college is challenging, jobs are changing, and health care and basic rights can be a luxury. I report on the barriers people face and overcome to succeed and create a better life for themselves and their families.
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