Money abruptly runs out for kids' therapy

DENVER – Rocky Mountain Human Services is reducing early intervention therapy sessions for children with disabilities after outspending its budget with six weeks left in the fiscal year.

RMHS says slightly more than 400 children are affected. Parents tell 9Wants to Know their children will receive half the scheduled number of therapy sessions through the end of the fiscal year due to the funding issue.

"No family will not receive services, we just might not be able to provide the same number of therapy services per month," said RMHS spokeswoman Amy Davies.

Davies said RMHS was notified by the state that it would run out of funding if it continued to spend at the same rate. She acknowledged the problem was a combination of poor planning and an influx of additional need in the community.

"We're doing everything we can to ensure this doesn't happen again," Davies said.

Parents who object to a cutback will be allowed to argue their child is specially situated to be harmed by less therapy "because children may be at a fragile point in their development", Davies said.

Only children who receive six or more therapy sessions a month are impacted.

Several parents contacted 9Wants to Know about the cutbacks.

"If they're cutting back on the kids who need the most services then they're leaving those kids even further behind," said parent Julie Behrman.

Behrman says she was given the choice between her son receiving fewer occupation therapy sessions or fewer speech therapy sessions.

"It's concerning that weren't able to project what their need was going to be versus what they could actually provide," Behrman said. "It doesn't seem like a reasonable way to run your agency."

Behrman said she would agree to reduce her son's scheduled therapy sessions so that children with more severe disabilities might be able to keep theirs.

"I would hate to see kids who are worse off not getting services," Behrman said.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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