The Washington Post

State agency for disabled leaves millions of dollars unspent

Looking for a story about government that will cause you to feel hopelessly outraged and sad? I have one for you.

The state’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, according to a report in the Annapolis Capital, failed to spend at least $34 million meant to help people with disabilities. Ready for more: The agency actually returned more than $25 million to the General Fund. People seeking services were told there wasn’t any money, according to the story.

Frank Kirkland, who recently took control of the administration after what the paper calls the “forced resignation” of Michael Chapman, said “We were all appalled this happened, especially while we have waiting lists.”

And the list is long, totaling more than 6,600 people.

The paper reports that an inspector general investigation is ongoing. Kirkland added that the troubling discovery does not appear to be criminal.

“It just seems to have probably been poor business practices,” Kirkland told the paper.

And that’s a very sad reality for many people with disabilities.

The paper serves up the heartbreaking story of Heidi and Dan Berlin, who have been told for two years that there was no state money available to help their developmentally disabled son.

“They could have helped us, but they gave the money away,” Heidi Berlin said.

It boggles the mind.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.


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