In the News: I/DD Media Roundup 2014 Archive
Closing Southbury School Won’t Shift Badly Needed Funds
The Hartford Courant Op-Ed: David Pickus, president SEIU 1199 New England- December 26
There is a crisis in Connecticut. This crisis affects the most vulnerable members of our great state, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The wait list for individuals in need of proper places to live has grown to more than 2,000. Guardians, many of whom are elderly, are forced to live with the uncertainty of what will happen to their loved ones once they pass away… We have been repeatedly told that money will be saved by closing state-run facilities, but this is deceiving… An accelerated closure of the Southbury Training School would make a bad problem even worse… read more . . .
Macy To Resign From Agency Serving People With Intellectual Disabilities
The Hartford Courant – December 22
"Terrence W. Macy announced Monday he is resigning as commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services in early January after running the $1.1 billion agency serving people with intellectual disabilities since Gov. Dannel P.Malloy appointed him in 2011." read more...
No need to rush the Southbury closing
The Day – December 22
"This is in reply to the guest commentary, "Closing Southbury is best policy option," (Dec. 14). I feel the facility should remain open until the current occupants pass on, which is still the current plan." read more...
Southbury Training School Too Costly To Keep
The Hartford Courant – December 19
"Over the past few years, the Southbury Training School, home to people with intellectual disabilities, has been steadily shrinking. In 2000, the facility had a staff of 1,700 and 696 residents. Today, 935 full- and part-time employees serve 318 clients. Only 19 of the original 56 residential buildings are now used." read more...
Disability rights advocates want Southbury Training School shut down
Associated Press – News Times December 3
A coalition of disability-rights groups announced plans to push Connecticut officials to close six state-run institutions, including Southbury Training School…by 2020.
The “2020 Campaign” comes about a month before the General Assembly convenes and considers a new two-year state budget... But state employee union leaders and some family members and guardians of Southbury residents oppose such a move. Martha Dwyer, whose brother Tom has lived at the Southbury Training School since 1973, contends the facility is better suited than a private sector program for her brother's severe disabilities. "Many of the people at Southbury feel they need that level of care," Dwyer told reporters at Wednesday's news conference. Her appearance highlighted the emotion surrounding the closing of Southbury …read more …
Tug-of-war over limited state funds for CT’s developmentally disabled
The CT Mirror – December 3
Armed with a court expert’s new recommendation to close Southbury Training School, several advocacy groups argued Connecticut unfairly spends too much of its limited resources on a small class of institutionalized disabled while ignoring thousands awaiting community-based care... But parents of clients of the training school and other state facilities fired back that these settings are crucial for their children’s proper care… Martha Dwyer of New York City, whose brother, Tom, is autistic, suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and has lost sight in one eye, said it is not that simple. “The level of care he receives at Southbury is excellent,” said Dwyer, who serves on an association composed of more than 200 relatives of Southbury residents. “For some people, institutional settings are needed and must be made available.” … read more…
Advocates Press for Closing of Southbury, Other State Institutions for Developmentally Disabled
The Hartford Courant – December 2
Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are pressing for the closure by 2020 of Southbury Training School and all other state-run institutions and group homes… The families of many of the remaining Southbury campus residents have strongly opposed any attempts to close the facility while their loved ones are still there. Some residents have lived at Southbury for 60 years or more. The state closed new admissions to Southbury in 1986…read more …
In Other States
An Oasis of Care for People With Intellectual Disabilities
The New York Times – December 30
"LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A mother needs to get her son out the door. Thick white socks cover his contorted feet, a coat drapes his twisted shoulders, a water bottle with a straw nestles in the concave of his chest, and black straps on his wheelchair secure his wrists. He is 33 years old, and she has to get him to an appointment." read more...
Housing Proposal for Mentally Ill, the Homeless, I/DD Individuals Opposed by the Arc
The Day – June 24
A proposal to develop a voluntary cooperative living facility on state-owned property faces opposition from the Arc because the property was once an institution . . .
Group Hired for Training School Grant
Republican American – June 11
Selectmen have waived the bid policy and voted to hire a government group to oversee the rollout of a $200,000 grant for an environmental assessment at Southbury Training School. The Valley Council of Governments, which has managed other brownfield studies in the area, will be the project administrator.
In Other States
Transfers of Disabled Patients Still a Problem
Georgia Health News – June 23
Almost 10 percent of the 480 people with developmental disabilities who have moved out of state hospitals since July 2010 have died after their placement in community residences . . . The state has twice halted placements over concerns about the quality of life provided in the new settings . . .
Assembly OKs Bill to Slow Move of Disabled
Asbury Park Press – June 24
A bill overwhelmingly passed by NJ legislators puts a moratorium on transferring I/DD individuals from out-of-state facilities if their guardians oppose the transfer, or if the person has lived in a facility for 10 years or more . . .
Equal Care for Developmentally Disabled in Barnes Bill
Asbury Park Press – June 6
Residents relocated from the two state developmental centers scheduled for closure this year should be entitled to receive comparable levels of services and support in community placements, says state Sen. Peter J. Barnes…
State Legislators Seek Deal with Cuomo on Patient Release from Four State Institutions
PressConnects.com – June 19
The deal would lead to tighter oversight of safe transitions as the state seeks to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Olmstead decision. . .
Besonhurst Dad Fights to Keep Son’s Developmental Center Open
Brooklyn Daily Eagle - June 11
A move by the Cuomo Administration to shut down four large facilities housing the severely developmentally disabled is having a devastating effect on a Bensonhurst couple whose grown son has been living at one of the state-run facilities, Brooklyn Developmental Center (BDC), for 35 years . . .
Another Voice: Lift State Moratoriums to Help the Developmentally Disabled
Opinion: The Buffalo News – June 10
By Rhonda Frederick, president of Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York
As our population in Western New York continues to skew older and aging caregivers become no longer able to support their loved ones, there will be an increasing need for senior individuals with developmental disabilities to receive the care they need and deserve. . .
Ohio Leverages CRM to Improve Services for Developmentally Disabled
Government Technology Magazine – June 10
The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) is implementing a new CRM-based system called Imagine to help deliver person-centered programs and services to residents in need. The new system is reducing administrative expenses, improving efficiency, and allowing the state to standardize individual service plans…
Exclusive: West Carrollton Selected for $1M Care Facilities
Dayton Business Journal – June 9
Two care facilities for the developmentally disabled will be built in downtown West Carrollton, creating 26 new jobs… The facilities come in the wake of a state push to get more developmentally disabled persons in the hands of private caregivers from county developmental centers. Last year the state issued requests for proposals for 20 intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled across the state . . .
Advocates for Disabled” End Texas “Institutional Bias”
The Texas Tribune – June 23
Fifteen years after the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision paved the way for I/DD individuals to move out of institutions into community homes, some advocates are calling on Texas lawmakers to speed up that process . . .other advocacy groups in support of state living centers say “one shoe doesn’t fit all” . . .
Senator Calls for Expansion of Community-Based Services
Disability Scoop – June 24
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa is introducing a bill that would put an end to “institutional bias” for getting supports and services such as Medicaid for I/DD individuals. The bill, “The Community Integration Act” honors the Olmstead decision and would require that all states deem all individuals who are considered eligible for institutional care to also be eligible for supports in home and community-based settings . . .
Caring for Those with Autism Runs $2M-plus for Life
USA Today – June 9
The cost of supporting someone with an autism spectrum disorder plus intellectual disability: $2.4 million in the USA . . .making it one of costliest disabilities . . .
Court Throws Out ‘Mental Retardation’
USA Today – June 1
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that the term “mental retardation” is no longer appropriate to use…The term “intellectual disability” is to be used in legal briefs . . .
Auditors: State Agency Falls Behind on Abuse and Neglect Investigations
CT News Junkie – May 30, 2014
CT DDS has fallen behind on investigating allegations of abuse and neglect of I/DD individuals in public group homes and institutions. DDS has also fallen behind on updating a statewide registry of employees who were terminated due to their abuse or neglect of I/DD clients . . .
Hartford Courant Wins Several Top Awards
Courant – May 23
The Hartford Courant swept the top three awards at the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists' annual contest, winning honors for public service, investigative journalism and First Amendment protection. . .Top investigative honors went to The Courant for a series on deaths in group homes for the developmentally disabled. . .
More Group Homes Available by July
CT Post – May 8
State residents with intellectual disabilities could start moving into new apartments and group homes as early as July now that the state Legislature has added $4 million in funding for such placements . . . The legislature also added $600,000 to DDS' budget for 2014-15 for more grants to provide support to families whose children or grandchildren have intellectual or developmental disabilities, . . The additional funding came as a relief to members of Our Families Can't Wait, an advocacy group formed in the fall by parents and caregivers of DDS clients. . .
Top Lawmaker Tries to Hold onto Funding for
Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled People
CT News Junkie – May 1
Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford helped found the caucus of more than 52 lawmakers focused on issues that impact intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals and their families . . . As a result of Bye’s involvement, the 2015 Appropriations Committee budget included an additional $4.4 million to help open 100 more residential slots for the more than 3,500 people on a waiting list. . . The parents who have adult children with these disabilities worry about what will happen to their children when they die. . .
In Other States
Task Force Created to Review Regional Centers for Disabled
The Denver Post – May 16
A task force created by the Colorado legislature would review operations of three regional centers for the intellectually and developmentally disabled . . . State officials say there are no plans to close the centers, despite fears expressed by parents of adult children who are receiving treatment or living at the centers . . .
Many with Disabilities Find Choice Dwindle with Age
Disability Scoop – May 6
Many with disabilities today are outliving their parents and other caregivers, thriving well into old age. And advocates say Illinois, long at the bottom nationally in delivery of services to those with disabilities, is ill-prepared to meet this demographic challenge . . .
Public Lodges its Budget Requests with Senators
Associated Press – May 23
Parents whose developmentally disabled children are waiting for home-based assistance and some who receive state services asked lawmakers to keep in place plans to add $26 million to health care programs that serve those with disabilities. The money will help nearly 2.500 people on waiting lists.
State Earmarks $11 Million to Keep Six in Institution
Disability Scoop – May 23
Massachusetts lawmakers have slated another $11 million to keep open a state facility for people with developmental disabilities that houses just six people . . . The Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham was slated to close by July 2010, but a series of appeals by residents’ lawyers has forced the state to keep funding staff and the utility plant on the nearly 200-acre campus . . .
Medicaid Funds Increasingly Going to Community-Based Services
Disability Scoop – May 27
Spending on home and community-based services is on the rise as fewer dollars go to institutions, a new federal government report finds. Nationally, Medicaid funding for long-term services and supports remained largely stagnant in 2012 but increasingly that money is being directed to services in the community . . .
Senator Looks to Strengthen Disability Services
Disability Scoop – May 19
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is looking to introduce legislation to expand access to community-based services for people with disabilities nationwide. Under a 1999 ruling in a case known as Olmstead v. L.C., the U.S. Supreme Court decided that unnecessarily segregating individuals with disabilities in institutions is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. An investigative report found that many states are not meeting their obligations to move people out of institutional settings and individuals often face long waiting lists to receive supports in the community. . . This legislation would close gaps to services . . .
Connecticut Group Lobbies for $149M Proposal
to Aid People with Special Needs
New Haven Register – April 26
[Our Families Can’t Wait] advocacy group has been lobbying at the state Capitol to gain support for a $149 million proposal that would dramatically increase funding for new state-funded group homes, home support and community companion homes — licensed family homes for three or fewer people with intellectual disabilities. The group is receiving organizational help from the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199.
Brownfield Assessment Grant Awarded for STS Campus
Voices News – April 23
Gov. Dannel Malloy announced on Wednesday, April 16, the award to Southbury of a $200,000 grant to perform a brownfield assessment of the Southbury Training School campus… This action by the state is one of several that have occurred at the school in the last two years, based on the partnership and commitment of the governor… All of this is being done with the utmost sensitivity to the current residents of the Southbury Training School.
Southbury Gets $200,000 Grant to Pay
for Training School Soil Study
Republican American – April 17
State officials took another step toward finding new uses for the Southbury Training School campus Wednesday, when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the approval of a $200,000 grant to fund a brownfield assessment of the property. First Selectman Ed Edelson said there is no set date for the state to close the facility, which includes cottages, a large administration building and maintenance buildings …
Read Home & School’s Response
in a Letter to the Editor
State Suspends Transfers of Developmentally
Disabled Patients into Community Settings
WABE 90.1 FM – April 14
Under an agreement with the federal government, Georgia has to move everyone with developmental disabilities out of state hospitals and into community settings by July 2015. However, the state has stopped making those transfers for the second time since it began the transition program. This time, two people transferred from the state hospital in Thomasville died not long after moving into community settings…
State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus Joins I/DD Caucus
Citizen’s News – March 21
State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) has joined a bipartisan coalition of legislators that will focus on issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The group, the “I/DD caucus,” formed a month ago. This new legislative caucus is considered to be the first of its type in the nation…
"Ex=Caregiver Gets 3-Year Sentence"
Angelica Rivera Was Caught Abusing Patient On Camera
Hartford Courant - March 27th, 2014
Thousands of people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico have been waiting to receive the full spectrum of services available through a government program, some for more than 10 years...there are 6,000 people on the waiting list...Last year a state task force found that the state would need to add more than $83-million over the next several years to cut the waiting time from 10 years down to three.
Future Planning Center to Assist Disability Caregivers
Disability Scoop – March 18
As people with developmental disabilities live longer, a new national center is gearing up to help individuals and their families plan for the future. The Arc said it will establish a center to address the needs of an estimated 600,000 to 700,000 American families that include an adult with developmental disabilities with no clear long-term plan. In many cases, the group said aging caregivers are struggling to plan for a time when they will no longer be around to provide support…
Feds earmark millions for disability housing assistance
Disability Scoop - March 4
Federal housing officials are putting $120 million on the table to help thousands of people with disabilities access rental assistance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Tuesday that state housing agencies can apply now through May 5 for a share of the funding that’s intended to help prevent homelessness and unnecessary institutionalization of those with disabilities.
For CT adults with developmental disabilities,
housing help unlikely until parents die
CT Mirror – Feb. 10
None of the state-run institutions accept new clients, and the terms of a 2010 legal settlement requires the state to evaluate all Southbury Training School residents for community placement. Residents and their guardians can decide whether to move or not. …But families of Southbury residents have said they’re wary of the prospect of their relatives going into the community system, which even service providers consider starved for resources.
Families of disabled adult children meet at state Capitol
Reminder News - Feb. 10
The Arc of Quinebaug Valley Director of Educational Programs Dawn Lazaroff said the current system is inequitable. “Some get it all,” she said. According to the DDS website, 368 individuals live at the Southbury Training School. More than 1,200 staff provides support and a broad array of services. Lazaroff estimated that STS costs could run as high as $300,000 annually per person. While acknowledging there are different levels of need among the disabled, she said far too many get little to no support. And there are those with a great need who have been told there are no more residential options for them.
Family Hearing Day: Families of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Information Forum
Feb. 7 – CT-N Streaming Video
The actual event
Bye Announces Formation of Legislative Caucus for Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
News from State Senator Beth Bye - Feb. 7
State Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) today announced the formation of a new legislative Intellectual & Developmental Disability Caucus--the first such state-level caucus in the nation—that will fight for the interests of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Bolinsky Attends Family Hearing Day…
Listens to Families of Developmentally Disabled
News from State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky – Newtown - Feb 7
“It’s safe to say that these programs require a new look and perhaps some new thinking. The need is not decreasing, nor will it go away so it is time to stop hiding our heads in the sand and face the issues head on.”
Crowds Pack Rep. Case, The Arc’s Family Hearing Day
News from State Rep. Jay Case – Winchester, Torrington, Colebrook, Goshen - Feb. 7
“Today’s outpouring of support for the I/DD community was overwhelming and humbling. As a person with a relative with an intellectual and developmental disability, I have seen first-hand where our society has failed them, and where our state falls short in supporting their everyday life. . .There are a number of challenges and hurdles we have to overcome. But I’m positive and I know we can give these families some peace of mind.”
Thousands of families left out of state funding to help with developmental disabilities
Seattle Times - Feb. 22
Discussing how to reduce the caseload inevitably leads to one of the most charged topics in the developmental-disabilities community: state institutions. The controversy is simple: institutions are expensive...Some have pushed for years to close institutions, but employees and family members of residents have resisted — and been relatively successful in part because the institutions are unionized and the unions are powerful.
Missouri targets developmentally disabled wait list
News Tribune - Feb 8
Hundreds of people who have developmental disabilities could begin receiving publicly funded services as Missouri officials tackle a waiting list for in-home services that now stands at nearly 1,400 people... Other states also are confronting demand for services that exceeds their capacities. Maureen Fitzgerald, director of disability rights for The Arc,
a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said there could be more than 200,000 people waiting nationwide — though some states have no waiting list and others number in the thousands. She said some states have moved to managed care to shrink their lists.
"Training School Should Be HUB of Care"
Hartford Courant - May 3, 2013
Funding for developmental disability services
KUMN - March 3
Letter to Governor Malloy Concerning Task Force
April 29, 2013
Letters to Commissioner Macy Concerning Task Force
April 28, 2013x
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