Letter to the Editor

First Steps was on the right track

Saturday, March 19, 2005

To the editor:

On March 15 at the hearing of Senate Bill 500 (the First Steps bill), some remarkable data was shared. Since July 1, when a new model for running Missouri's First Steps started up in three regions of our state, there has been an average cost savings of 33 percent. We are talking about a potential statewide annual savings of over $7 million in the First Steps early intervention program if the program is left alone. Please don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourself at:


Since Gov. Matt Blunt proposed cutting funding to First Steps in early February, I have been devoting lots of time and effort toward saving this program. I am sad to say that the governor seems to have his heart set on making significant changes to the way the program is run. In four weeks his staff came up with a plan, and now they are looking to use it to replace the current design that took six years and over $1 million to develop and implement -- a design that is saving our state money. Whatever happened to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

DOUGLAS RIGGS, Kirkwood, Mo.