MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — Rosita Whittaker spends day and night caring for her 21-year-old daughter Veronica, who’s both physically and developmentally disabled.
“She’s my life, she’s my everything,” Rosita Whittaker said. “She’s come so far in her development. It’s been 19 years since she was told she’d have six months to live.”
Veronica’s care makes it nearly impossible for Rosita to get a job so she accepts money from the state for acting as her daughter’s caregiver. She’s paid at a rate that’s far less than what it would cost the state to institutionalize Veronica.
The Menifee family depends on those funds to get by but Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly-proposed budget may place Rosita’s income in jeopardy.
Brown’s plan caps pay for in-home caregivers, whether they be family members or unrelated employees, at 40 hours a week.
Rosita Whittaker says that would slash her pay by 100 hours a month, with dire consequences for her daughter: “Honestly, I could see us losing our home.”
“She would be in a medical facility. And if she gets frustrated she really cries and screams, and it’s hard for her to stop. I see something that traumatic happening: I see them drugging her and…putting her flat on her back, with a g-tube bag in, and there she’d lay.”
Brown says new federal rules on overtime and other extras would cost the state up to $600 million by 2015.
Whittaker believes the governor doesn’t fully understand the toll this will take on families like hers.
The mother said, “I don’t think Gov. Brown is aware of what he’s doing.”