Georgia Olmstead Initiative
Governor Perdue’s State of the State Message - January 13, 2010
As we rethink the appropriate role of government in these times, we cannot retreat from our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I am convinced that Georgia can, Georgia must, and Georgia will adequately care for citizens in our state’s mental health program, even though this has been a daunting challenge that precedes my time as Governor.
We took a major step forward last year in creating an agency whose sole focus is caring for the mentally challenged and developmentally disabled. With a respected mental health professional leading this agency, we have developed a plan that will stabilize hospital staffing and improve care in our institutions. Yes, it will cost more money, but I am confident the additional investment will result in better outcomes for our patients.
I want to be clear, my interest is not driven purely by legal mandates, but from my own personal belief that we have a moral obligation to serve those with disabilities. They are our mothers and fathers…our sons and daughters…our neighbors. And we are our brothers’ keepers.
That obligation should carry a tangible effort. It’s a hard thing to do in these budget times…the budgets that I will release on Friday will include additional investment - $20 million in 2010 and over $50 million in 2011.
Together, we are making concerted efforts to do the right thing for this vulnerable population. I ask for your continued support as well as that of our consumers, providers, advocates, families, and communities to help us develop a system of care of which we can be proud.