CHICKASHA, Okla. - From age 19 to 80, the Goodwill Adult Day Services center in Chickasha provides a safe place for those who are different.
"These are their friends, and this is their home away from home. And, this is the place to be, because the world is not very nice when you’re different," said Faryl Farmer, the center's assistant director. "I know. I’ve been dealing with that for 30 years."
That's because Farmer's 30-year-old daughter, Sunny, attends the adult daycare for the disabled and elderly every day.
"This is a place where they can be just who they are, and everyone understands," she said.
When asked if legislators understand, Farmer said she thinks they do.
"I don’t think they’re devoid of compassion, but I think they are very set in they’re not going to raise taxes," she said.
Weeks into the special legislative session and several failed votes by legislators to raise revenue to fund state agencies and fix the state's $215 million budget shortfall, parents like Farmer and others whose children attend the daycare center are frustrated, fed up and fearful of when the other shoe will drop.
State agencies, like DHS, have been notifying program waiver recipients their services could be cut if a funding fix isn't found by the legislature.
"They’re very vulnerable," Farmer said. "Just because they can’t get out and cast a vote - they’re still here. They’re a part of your district."
"I don’t think they’re looking at it from a people perspective," said Sandy Crowder, whose 21-year-old son Jared attends the daycare. "So far, dollars."
Crowder's son is totally dependent on his mother outside of the daycare center. Now, Crowder wants answers.
"To not know if I’m going to be able to work again or if these ladies are going to be able to work..." said Crowder, clearly frustrated. "Why pick on the mentally challenged and disabled? Why start there? That’s a big question I have. Why?"