A Daily Herald article earlier this week discusses the political side of the Show You Care Kane referendum. What it did not highlight is the human side of the story -- the real need addressed by the referendum.
My adopted son David is developmentally disabled as a result of a prenatal brain injury. He is completely nonverbal, has no literacy skills and cannot grasp basic concepts such as time, money or personal safety.
David will never live independently and will need residential, employment and other disability supports his entire life. David will age out of high school special education next year; the astounding thing is that, in a wealthy country like ours, there are no services available for him after that.
His mother and I are divorced and both work full-time day jobs to support ourselves; neither of us can quit our jobs to care for him. I am not sure what David will do or who will care for him beginning next year.
David is just one of 1,300 individuals in Kane County waiting to receive assistance, and thousands more like him are in special education classes in public schools and will one day need help. Without services, people like David have significant unmet needs and are not able to live a productive, meaningful life.
The need is real -- and there are no other solutions except this referendum. The state, with its waiting list of 22,000 individuals, will not care for David. I placed him on the state waiting list for residential and day program services seven years ago -- but it is very unlikely that he will receive funding any time soon.
Local funding is the only answer. Show You Care Kane is about what Michelle Bachmann calls "small-town socialism" where local communities care for their own vulnerable citizens.
And the cost is so small -- for the average homeowner only one dollar a week. Voting yes for Show You Care Kane will help David and the many like him.
James B. Gould