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Disabled and Abandoned

A yearlong Austin American-Statesman investigation into Texas’ system of care for people with disabilities found it beset by crisis and violence.

Texas’ Medicaid waiver system was supposed to allow Texans with disabilities to flourish with personalized services.


Instead, our a yearlong investigation found a system that is underfunded and full of red tape.

Nearly 160,000 disabled Texas residents are suffering physical and emotional setbacks while waiting up to 17 years for disability services in their homes and communities, while caregivers working in group homes make less than $9 an hour and are overworked and undertrained, resulting in dangerous situations.

About this project

Texas Managing Editors

  • Star Investigative Report 2nd Place

  • Team Effort Award

The Headliners Foundation

  • Showcase Award for Enterprise and Innovation- Silver

Society of Professional Journalists

  • Delta Sigma Chi Award

This investigation was written and reported by Statesman reporters Nicole Foy, Tony Plohetski and Caroline Ghisolfi. 

I spent over a year taking trips around central and eastern Texas, from Brownsville to Tyler speaking to the people impacted by this overburdened system and documenting their lives, adding visual reportage to my co-workers writing.

Read more about their reporting process here

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