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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Family members may make the best caregivers, but the state of Kentucky will no longer pay for that care if they don't have proper training.
These are part of changes being made to the Supports for Community Living waiver, a Medicaid-sponsored program that allows family members to be paid while caring for loved ones.
But those changes have some families upset and concerned.
Muriel Bundley is one of them. She cares for her 30-year-old son, Dwan Armstrong, around the clock. He has autism and epilepsy, and Bundley says he can also be pretty aggressive and even violent.
"It's always different, because you never know how he is going to act," said Bundley.
Dwan is one of several hundred Kentuckians who benefit from a home and community-based program funded by the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services.
"They actually paid family members to come in and help me with Dwan or watch him so that I can get out during the day, just to give me a break," Bundley said.
But that all changed this year, and family members can no longer be paid without proper training.
"It's like I'm being told that I have to let strangers come in my home to watch Dwan, which that will never ever happen," she said.
"With dwindling dollars for supports in general that we want to ensure that we're not supplanting natural supports," says Bonnie Young, director of Child and Family Services with Seven Counties Services.
Young explains that the changes to the Supports for Community Living waiver mean family members who want to be paid will need to develop specific skills.
But she says the changes are not written in stone.
"There are ways for families to challenge the state and say 'no, I'd be the best person to teach my son or daughter.'"
Bundley says that's exactly what she plans to do because the last time she had outside help, it didn't go so well.
"When I got home, he had scratches all over him and I asked the person that was taking care of him, 'where did he get all of these scratches?' and he said, 'I don't know.'"
Family members will be able to continue being paid if they can prove they are the best qualified to care for the loved ones.