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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Legislation filed to provide assistance to functional diversity population

Representative of the 26th District Jesús Hernández Arroyo.

By The Star Staff

The representative of the 26th District, Jesús Hernández Arroyo filed legislation that seeks to establish the “Functional Love Impact” Program in order to create an initial link with people with functional diversity who lose a guardian or custodian due to death or illness.

This legislation also seeks to provide them with aid, protection and ensure their well-being, while establishing alliances with the relevant agencies so that they have essential services for their safety.

“Recently, there has been a collective concern about the parents or guardians of people with functional diversity in relation to the problems that would occur if they were absent. These family members live the anguish that they are the only custodians and/or direct relatives, and in the event of death or terminal illness, they would be left in the hands of the Department of the Family. We are aware that, in many cases, these parents dedicate their lives to the care of these people, the sacrifice to protect them and provide them with the corresponding care is arduous and the concern that their children will be left without those services and care in case they are absent is genuine,” said Hernández Arroyo.

According to data, Puerto Rico is the second territory in the United States with the highest rate of citizens with functional limitations. Some 21.4% of the population identifies with a disability. That’s a high figure, compared to data released in 2012, which was 19.6%. The reality that this community lives is one of disadvantage when it comes to having access to the services provided by the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The government structure, on many occasions, does not provide tools to cover the basic needs of these people, so it would be of great benefit to be able to be a liaison in cases where they are left without a family member or guardians to take care of them.

“This sad reality is the same one that motivates us to propose the creation of an office that is in charge of dealing with these cases and that provides first aid in the event of death or terminal illness of the parents or guardians. This would be the direct link and they would collaborate in the search for better living conditions for this population. We need to be more empathetic and reassure these family members that their children or relatives will have the best care ad the safety and protection they deserve,” the legislator concluded.

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