By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - Warren County's Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities agency has sent 122 letters to its families letting them know services will not be cut.
The letters come after at least eight families who also are served by Help Me Grow of Warren County contacted MRDD officials in the past week, said John Lazares, MRDD's superintendent.
Last week, Help Me Grow's operators sent letters to its 238 families, warning them that services from the disabled baby program may be slashed because county officials won't give Help Me Grow access to its state funding.
"We don't want our families to think that services won't continue," Lazares said.
He added that he didn't think Help Me Grow's director, Carolyn Tepe, and her boss, Larry Sargeant, were correct in blaming Help Me Grow's financial woes on the county. Tepe and Sargeant also have blamed Help Me Grow's funding problems on the overall mix of funding for the program at the state level.
County Administrator Bob Price has said Help Me Grow has not been submitting applications for families that would be eligible for state money.
"The commissioners have funded the program correctly," Lazares said. "I disagree with some of the accusations that have been made. The commissioners have lived up to their responsibility for providing services to children."
Nevertheless, County Commissioners Larry Crisenbery and Mike Kilburn have been critical of Help Me Grow, saying it might duplicate services other county programs already provide. Both have indicated they would not support the program, which means Warren County's state-earmarked money for Help Me Grow would go to the same program in other counties.
Commissioner Pat South said state policy shows services a child is entitled to receive cannot be delayed or denied because ofdisputes between agencies regarding financial or other responsibilities: "That Help Me Grow letter violated the entire premise of the program by putting fear into the families that they were going to be dropped," South said."I can guarantee our board will not allow any services to be dropped or stopped for this year or next."
TRISTATE REACTS TO WAR
War news better, but still worrisome
Local soldier on TV in Iraq
Girl Scouts support troops
Vigils, Meetings, Rallies
Keeping in touch
IN THE TRISTATE
Airport scans all checked bags now
Twitty car wreck remains mystery
Catholic students gather to call for end to Iraq war
Kids already giving back to community
Booth ends 5-year stint serving on City Council
Panel may rule against Cranley
Suit says city violated labor act by cutting OT
Tristate A.M. Report
PULFER: Gorman Farm
Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Popular tavern draws complaints
Monroe budget deficit brings talk of cuts or higher taxes
Beer might liven up next Freedom Fest
Home repair funding sought
Switcheroo planned by GOP
MRDD services won't be withheld
Development gains tax package
House to decide on gambling
U.S. Senate panel OKs ethanol bill
Mega Millions profits underwhelming
Airport pays church $3.2M
Ky. Democratic candidates gather to hash out issues in forum at NKU
Club blames fire on contractors, building owners
Wal-Mart strictures settled
Woman, 31, found dead in pickup submerged in river
Judge delays trial in death of toddler
Two men charged in Georgetown slaying
Ky. to open six new courses
Obituary: Edra Black, widow of former Enquirer editor