To whom it may concern:
Bladen County is in crisis, not only from the lawyers trying to hurt our hog farms, the opioid crisis that is making drug more readily available in our small community, the lack of jobs in the area. We are also under crisis from the lack of information and willingness to help a community that mostly goes unseen from the general public. It is a community that most only see if they scroll through Facebook and see a post about a girl who is the first Zumba instructor with Downs Syndrome, the young man who is most non verbal and chose the moment of graduation to speak to his fellow classmates. The parents and caregivers of the children with special needs are the ones that have to live in the community where they are unseen and rarely given the same opportunities as others in Bladen County .
Here in Bladen County, children are faced with challenges that children in other counties in our state do not have to. Our children do not have adequate educational opportunities except at certain schools in the county, which has lead many parents to homeschool. They can not get the medical services they need from doctors and professionals that are knowledgeable about their conditions. They can not get occupational therapy or behavioral therapies, like ABA or RBI. They can’t even get a fenced in playground provided by the county so that they can play and be safe. County representation on Eastpointe MCO and CFAC committees are severely lacking and do not seem to be making the needs of Bladen County heard and are not listening to the families that are crying out for help.
But today, when reading our local newspaper, there was an article about the Opioid Crisis that is plaguing Bladen. Many names and organizations in the article jumped out as people that we have talked to about the very real crisis that our children and their families face every single day. We were upset, and frankly livid, to hear that the county drug addicts will be afforded more opportunities for a problem that they chose; than the children and adults in our community that did not chose to be born with the disability they have. It was stated the task force wants to implement a program similar to the one in Brunswick County to assist addicts with treatment and financial assistance if needed from a grant that Bladen County was previously awarded. Also stated in the article where it had been reported that our local MCO, Eastpointe and Trillium that there has been an increase of call from people who can no longer get their prescriptions since Dr. Kim’s arrest. When Eastpointe was asked about being able to gauge the needs of families in Bladen with a mental health disorder or autism by calls and claims, representatives where not able to give us a number or even say if there was an increase in call volume. Data that should be taken into account when assessing the needs of a county. Data, that we were told we had to get on our own, through our own means, to give back to Eastpointe to prove the needs of Bladen County. This is unacceptable.
We, as the special needs community of Bladen County, are asking to be heard. We are community service leaders, advocates, parents, and individuals with special needs. We are here and we have voiced the needs of our community on a small scale. Today, as on many other days, we are outraged by what Bladen County has shown to be their priorities. We have asked for very little to make our county safer and more accessible for our children and families, and have been denied at almost every turn. We asked for a completely fenced in playground for our children that are runners, and were told there are no funds. We can’t get occupational or ABA therapy here because for some unknown reason, they will not come to Bladen County. Eastpointe say its the providers that are not keeping up with rules and regulations. Providers are saying its Eastpointe’s fault. Needless to say our children are hurting and suffering the consequences of a system that does not care about them and their needs.
We encourage all individuals with special needs and parents of special needs children to write, call, and /or email our elected representatives and tell them what Bladen County needs and what our children needs. This can not stand. All members of Bladen should be accounted for and thought of in the decision making process that affect the entire county.