Who We Are: Home and School Association of the Southbury Training School
We are the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews of of the residents at the Southbury Training School and of members of the School staff,The Home and School Association was organized in 1949. We are also the residents plenary guardians and advocates. We strive to promote the welfare of the residents, maintain high standards of care, residential living, training opportunities and general well-being to the fullest extent. We maintain close relationships among the residents along with the Southbury Training School administration and staff.
We initiate and assist in projects for improving the general comfort and happiness of residents. We support campus events with the Southbury community. We have open communication with the Department of Developmental Services relative to support, programming and all plans that may affect the School and its residents. As well, we keep abreast of legislative activities through an affiliation with state and national organizations and relevant governmental agencies that may influence our residents well-being. We educate and inform our membership through meetings and presentations by experts in their field about important topics relevant to our residents' care of STS.
Those who have joined our organization have found it to be a rewarding and beneficial way to help the Training School and its residents.
The History of Southbury Training School
The Training School opened in 1940 as a Works Progress Administration project. It once was considered a model of client care, a place where people from across the country moved their sons and daughters. The population peaked at 2,300 in 1969. Private residences, were first part of the "cottage campus" vision in the 1940's WPA project. STS was a pioneer in this approach to residential placement for the developmentally disabled.
By the early 1980s advocates for the developmentally disabled were putting pressure on states to close institutions like Southbury, arguing that residents receive better care at a lower cost if hey were moved to group homes in the community.
In 1985 the Justice Department challenged the adequacy of services at S.T.S.
In 1986 the State entered into a Consent Decree to improve medical care and conditions. David Ferleger was appointed Special Master to guide the improvement of the quality of care at S.T.S. By 2008, there had been enough improvement that the Court discharged Mr. Ferleger and terminated the Consent Decree.
When Peter O'Meara was appointed Commissioner of DDS in 1996, only about half of the cottages at S.T.S. had been qualified for ICF/MR(Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded) status. O'Meara immediately provided the resources to upgrade the other cottages to ICF/MR status, thus improving the quality of care and assuring that the Federal Government would reimburse the State of Connecticut 50% of the cost of care all residents at S.T.S.
The ICF/MR is an optional Medicaid benefit, created by the Social Security Act and awarded to facilities that provide educational and support services to people with mental retardation living in "institutions" (4 or more beds) whose condition will improve with the extra care. Many of these people have other related conditions (seizure disorders, visual or hearing impairments) or a combination of the above. The Social Security Act specifies that these institutions must provide "active treatment" as defined by the Secretary.
Today STS is still a pioneer and advocate for geriatric developmentally disabled individuals in our state.