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Nearly 200,000 disabled Texans are waiting for the state’s help — some for longer than a decade

When Charles Brown first called The Harris Center to get treatment for his autistic son, Barack Obama was in his first term as president.

They told him Chase, who was 18 at the time, would have to go on a waitlist.

When he called back the next year, they said the same thing — it might be 10 years before he could get services such as employment training, residential care and behavioral support which are funded by the state and Medicaid. It might even be 15.

It’s been 11 years. Chase still is years from getting help.

“He joined the list … when he got out of high school,” Lisa Brown, Chase’s mother, said, struggling to mask her frustration on a recent call to the center. “Do you have an estimate of, like, when he might qualify?”

The representative with the center, Harris County’s point of entry for publicly funded intellectual and developmental disability services, said they had no idea — without more government funding, there’s not much they can do.

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