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GOP Budget Chair Pledges to Save First Steps Program


Jefferson City, MO – The chair of the Missouri House Budget Committee says he's confident his committee will save a program for special-needs children.

Governor Matt Blunt has proposed a budget that gets rid of the First Steps Program, which served 8,000 children last year.

Fellow Republican Brad Lager, of Maryville, says the program has wide support because it helps prepare children with disabilities for school.

The cut would save the state $27 million; the governor says some of the First Steps services might also be available through Medicaid.

First Steps provides therapy and training to children up to three years old who have such conditions as Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy or impaired vision or hearing. The service is available regardless of a family's income.