PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Leaders from an important legislative panel want to quickly put together a workgroup to deal with questions families have raised about a South Dakota program that helps people with physical and mental disabilities live in communities as independently as possible.

Representative Chris Karr said a small pool of lawmakers, state officials, family members and providers should be established “in the very near future” on Family Support 360 services that the South Dakota Department of Human Services offers.

Parents and providers met Thursday with the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee that Karr and Senator Jean Hunhoff co-chair to talk about possible improvements.

The two lawmakers agreed that the workgroup should dig into the concerns, which had been presented a few weeks ago to the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee. Representative Randy Gross, an Elkton Republican who serves on appropriations, chairs GOAC.

“I think there’s a lot to look into,” said Karr, a Sioux Falls Republican. “I think there’s lots of vetting that needs to be done with this information.” His recommendation of a workgroup was supported by Hunhoff, a Yankton Republican. “We can’t wait until session,” Hunhoff said.

The Legislature officially opens its 38-day schedule for the coming year on January 10, 2023. None of the other appropriators opposed getting the workgroup going before that.

Karr said the situation needs attention “ASAP.” The workgroup likely will gather sometime before the next Appropriations Committee meeting on December 14.