In the News: I/DD Media Roundup 2016 Archive
Select media coverage on news and issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Connecticut and around the nation…
DDS group home privatization effort slows down — for now
The CT Mirror | December 7, 2016
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plans to privatize 40 group homes and lay off nearly 500 Department on Developmental Services employees next year — as well as union efforts to block those actions — have stalled temporarily, but have not gone away. read full story
DDS client fears privatization: ‘I want somebody who know me like the back of their hand’
Fox 61 News | December 6, 2016
On Tuesday, the Department of Developmental Services heard from the public about its proposed five-year plan for 2017-2022, which places greater focus on the privatization of services. Clients, their family members and caregivers spoke at the meeting. DDS client Hakim Foster said he would likely be in jail if it were not for the services of DDS. read full story
Huge Crowds for DDS Hearing
WTNH8 | December 6, 2016
Hundreds of family members, clients and workers who rely on the state Department of Developmental Services lined up to tell the agency they are not successfully doing ‘more with less’ they are doing ‘less with less’ as spending cuts continue to be felt across the state, with more coming. The agency was conducting the hearing in attempts to prepare a plan for the next five years. read full story
Families Offer Differing Perspectives On States Plan For Their Loved Ones
CTNewsJunkie.com | December 6, 2016
The Department of Developmental Services five year plan has been prepared for the period 2017-2022. Public comments were accepted yesterday in Hartford. This article offers perspectives from families affected by the plan. read full story
DDS Commissioner Morna Murray resigns effective early in 2017
The CT Mirror | December 1, 2016
Murray has been on medical leave for weeks. She'll leave early next year -- before the start of what is expected to be a grueling legislative session, where no human-service program is immune as lawmakers try to close a $1.3 billion deficit. read full story
SUFFERING IN SECRET: Illinois hides abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities
The Chicago Tribune | November 17, 2016
An investigation by The Tribune identified 1,311 cases of documented harm since July 2011 — hundreds more cases than publicly reported by the Illinois Department of Human Services. This two part series concerns widespread abuse in the group home (CILA) system in Illinois. This is not unique to Illinois. read the two part series
State agencies offer more painful possibilities for budget cuts
The CT Mirror | November 18, 2016
Some of the potential budget cuts include privatizing the last 21 state-run group homes for those with intellectual disabilities.. The Department of Developmental Services is currently privatizing 40 group homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, but a union representing state workers is seeking an injunction to stop the changes. Families of adults in the group homes also have sought to stop the privatization, saying their loved ones had developed trusting relationships with the state workers who staff the homes. Privatizing the remaining 21 group homes would affect 116 clients, and eliminate 118 state jobs.
A second suggested cut would have the Department of Developmental Services close the Southbury Training School fire department, eliminating 13 jobs. DDS said it has been discussing transitioning services with the town of Southbury. Closing the fire department would eliminate 13 jobs. read full story
In New Haven, parents plead for Connecticut to restore special-needs funding
The New Haven Register | November 12, 2016
Invited to the New Haven People’s Center by the group Our Families Can’t Wait, about 30 parents told state legislators from the New Haven area what it’s like to take care of kids or young adults with autism and other disabilities. read full story
State employee unions suing to block group home privatization
The CT Mirror | October 11, 2016
State employee unions plan to ask a judge to block the privatization of group homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, saying the layoffs caused by those changes violate Connecticut law and will eventually be blocked by the state labor board. The unions, CSEA-SEIU Local 2001 and SEIU 1199, New England, represent nearly 500 workers who are expected to be laid off because of the Department of Developmental Services’ plans to privatize the services they provide. The workers include staff at state-run group homes and institutions, and those who provide job support, education, physical and speech therapy, health care and other services to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Both unions filed a complaint with the state Board of Labor Relations earlier this week, alleging that DDS broke the law by failing to bargain with them over the decision to outsource the work. read full story
CT mom wins fight to protect disabled son
WFSB TV | October 11, 2016
A Connecticut mother claimed a small victory against the state in her battle to protect her disabled son on Tuesday. Lindsay Mathews, of New Haven, appeared in court on Tuesday morning to continue the fight to keep him in the group home, he's called home for roughly twenty years. Mathews said her son George Griffin needs around the clock care. Mathews added she's not happy with the state transferring state-run group homes over to private care. So, Mathews said she sued the state. They in turn petitioned to take over the guardianship of her adult son, but on Tuesday Eyewitness News was told it withdrew that request. read full story
Agency Serving Developmentally Disabled Lays Off Another 416, Will Privatize Group Homes
Hartford Courant | August 16, 2016
HARTFORD — The state agency serving 16,000 people with developmental disabilities will lay off more than 400 additional workers and shift dozens of state-run group homes, day programs and in-home services to the private sector in order to meet a "savings target" of nearly $70 million, state officials said Tuesday. read full story
State Agency Will Privatize Services For Disabled, Lay Off State Workers
CTNewsJunkie.com | Aug 16, 2016
The Department of Development Services will reduce its workforce by 605 employees after Jan. 1, 2017 and privatize most of its remaining group home services, the agency’s commissioner said Tuesday. read full story
A Report by the Inspector General of the United States finds that Connecticut Did Not Comply With Federal and State Requirements for Critical Incidents Involving Developmentally Disabled Medicaid Beneficiaries ...read full story
Please note that this report studied group homes in Connecticut and does not cover Southbury Training School residents.
The Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services issued a report in May 2016 based on a study of abuse and neglect in group homes in Connecticut (the Report). The Report stated that the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DDS) did not comply with Federal waiver and State requirements for critical incidents involving developmentally disabled Medicaid beneficiaries. Specifically, the Report stated as follows:
We urge you to read the Report for further details. click to download the full report
State Won’t Close Centers for Developmentally Disabled This Week As Planned
Hartford Courant | June 28, 2016
The scheduled closings of two institutions serving people with developmental disabilities, announced in March, will not occur Thursday [June 30] as planned, officials confirmed Tuesday…Agency officials did not immediately explain why the June 30 time-frame announced in a press release in March was not met. .. read full story
After Courant Investigation, Feds Find State Failing to Keep Developmentally Disabled Safe
Hartford Courant | May 24,2016
Safeguards for people with developmental disabilities are severely lacking in Connecticut, with private group homes and state officials failing to report or respond to dozens of cases of potential abuse and neglect, a federal audit sparked by a Courant investigation has found.
The audit, which analyzed the state's care of 245 developmentally disabled individuals from 2012 through the first half of 2014, found that private group homes frequently failed to report "critical incidents" to state officials, and that state officials almost never forwarded those cases for outside investigation. The cases include a man who suffered a broken spine and a woman who repeatedly ingested razor blades and other dangerous objects …read full story
More Layoffs Announced at the Southbury Training School
Southbury Patch | May 24, 2016
An additional 17 employees at Southbury Training School have been laid off. The layoffs are a result of the state’s efforts to reduce a nearly $1 billion deficit next year. read full story
30 More Layoffs In Executive Branch – Total Reaches 919
Hartford Courant |May 20, 2016
Those being laid off included 24 employees in the Department of Development Services, including food-service workers at the Southbury Training School as fewer residents are now living on the sprawling campus... read full story
State Layoffs Hit Southbury Training School
Southbury Patch | May 5, 2016
…25 Southbury Training School employees have been laid off, many of which had been there for decades... read full story
Lawmakers Pass Bill to Help Families of Disabled
AP | May 2, 2016
A bill aimed at helping families have more control over services for their developmentally disabled relatives has cleared the Connecticut General Assembly…The bill will help families receive more information about their cases and make the process more transparent..
read full story
Lawmakers Question DDS on Deadline to Close Two Institutions
Hartford Courant | April 29, 2016
The state said in March that money saved by mothballing two institutions for adults with intellectual disabilities would be used to serve more people, but advocates and lawmakers are now questioning whether a quick June deadline and a lack of preparation has sapped the plan of any benefit…read full story
Clergy Say Cuts to Services for Developmentally Disabled Morally Wrong
Hartford Courant | April 6, 2016
Interfaith leaders at a Capitol press briefing cast the $81 million in proposed cuts to services for people with intellectual disabilities in a moral framework, saying a society defines itself on how it helps its neediest citizens…read full story
Grasso Center Closure in Stratford Worries Parents
CT Post | March 27, 2016
The Ella T. Grasso Regional Center, regarded as one of the most ideal homes for the severely developmentally disabled when it opened in 1982, will close in June… read full story
State Unions Step Up Their Pushback on Givebacks
CT Mirror | March 25, 2016
…Facing a glaring $900 million budget deficit and unwilling to raise taxes, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican and Democratic leaders have called for givebacks from state employees… Facing increased pressure at the state Capitol for givebacks from state employees, their unions are stepping up their pushback…one of the state's largest unions [SEIU-1199} is putting the voices of their members on TV…read full story
DDS Closes Two Facilities, Relocates Residents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Fox 61 | March 24, 2016
…the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services announce the closure of two state regional centers on June 30.…The two facilities closing are the Ella T. Grasso Regional Center in Stratford and the Meriden Regional Center in Meriden. read full story
State to Close Centers for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
CT News Junkie | March 24, 2016
The Department of Developmental Services announced Thursday that it plans to close its regional centers in Meriden and Stratford by the end of June…This will be the first closure of a regional center in 20 years… read full story
A Governor’s Search for Fiscal ‘Balance” On the Road
CT Mirror | February 23, 2016
… the Democratic governor heard concerns at his third town hall forum about what spending cuts might mean…Malloy’s proposed budget promises deep cuts and job losses, through attrition and layoffs.
Judy Atwood of Shelton told Malloy her parents moved the family from Long Island to Connecticut in 1977 because of the care available to her intellectually disabled brother at the Southbury Training School. Under the terms of a consent decree, the state has moved most residents to group homes and other community settings.
She told Malloy that Southbury remains an important state resource to people like her brother, who have lived there nearly 40 years.
“I know you visited recently and I appreciated your comments after you visited,” she said. “It’s a wonderful place for him to live. And I hope you will continue to look at ways of keeping Southbury Training School open. The cost of closing and moving the residents is high. There are many vulnerable residents, who really won’t have a great placement in the community.”
Malloy told her the die is cast for Southbury. Its closing is matter of when, not if. The school was built for thousands and now is about 90 percent empty – and shrinking fast.
“I can’t look you in the eye and say, ‘Boy, that’s just going to stay open until the last person is no longer alive,” Malloy said. “I can’t look you in the eye and say that.”
The per resident cost is now about $240,000 a year, a number certain to rise as the population drops.
“I’m just trying to find the right balance,” he said. … Read full article
Advocates: Keep Unspent Money Within Agency to Serve Intellectually Disabled
Hartford Courant | February 16, 2016
More than 2,100 people with intellectual disabilities are waiting, in some cases for more than 20 years, for residential or in-home services, yet the responsible agency routinely returns several million dollars in "unspent" money each year to the state's general fund, where it disappears.
… advocates, parents and legislators testified in support of a bill that would keep unspent money within the Department of Developmental Services, where it could be used to reduce the waiting list. The proposed bill was raised in the General Assembly's public health committee…The bill would have to be approved by the legislature’s appropriations committee….read full article
Parents, Fighting $47M in Cuts to Disability Services, Seed to Turn Access into Action
Hartford Courant | February 10, 2016
About 30 legislators showed up at a rallying point Wednesday as dozens of parents of children with intellectual disabilities prepared to fan out through the Capitol complex and press lawmakers to resist $47 million in proposed cuts to services… read more
Malloy Pledges Action On List of Developmentally Disabled Awaiting Services
Hartford Courant | February 3, 2016
The governor's budget chief said officials over the next year will find ways to unfreeze a stalled list of more than 2,000 people with intellectual disabilities waiting for services, which advocates have identified as a crisis… he said the Department of Developmental Services will "develop strategies to address and fund" the waiting list… Overall, DDS, with a budget of $1 billion, will see a $31.8 million cut in fiscal 2017, representing Malloy's 5.75 reduction for state departments…read full article
Malloy plans partial privatization of homes for developmentally disabled
CT Post | February 2, 2016
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget includes millions of dollars in savings through the privatization of living arrangements for dozens of developmentally disabled residents…Sources familiar with the governor’s budget plans…said that Southbury Training School would remain in operation for the state’s most profoundly disabled residents…read full article
Moving Older Southbury Residents Seems Wrong
Opinion | Nancy Bardeen | STS Guardian | January 11, 2015
While the state legislature may take up the budgetary considerations involved in closing the Southbury Training School, and with Arc executive director Leslie M. Simoes brandishing data from many states extolling the advantages of group homes [Jan. 9, op-ed, "Malloy Wrong On Southbury Residents"], it seems Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has personally informed himself of the plight of the actual human beings involved in this particular situation [Jan. 4, Page 1, "Malloy: Southbury Decision Not Easy"].
For some, group home placement might be an option. But not for those most vulnerable and grievously disabled 70- and 80-year-olds who have made the school's cottages their home for many decades. Depriving these people of the school's specialized facilities and long-familiar staff seems an unconscionable choice to make.
Malloy Wrong on Southbury Training School Residents
Opinion | Leslie M. Simoes, Executive Director, The Arc Connecticut | January 9, 2016
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's recent statements about Southbury Training School are simply wrong. The residents there do not constitute "extraordinary cases." …Data from the state Department of Developmental Services disprove his argument…The governor's misstatements about Southbury could have been avoided had the Department of Developmental Services shared its data with him. According to the agency's detailed staff analysis, the overwhelming majority of Southbury residents could in fact move to the community…Statements like the governor's that contradict all research and misstate his department's data do a grave disservice to those with intellectual disabilities who are ultimately the victims of Connecticut's ineffective and inefficient system. Read in full with comments from readers
Please read the Home and School Association’s recommendations to improve the I/DD waiting list crisis in CT and the overall health of the DDS system.
Governor Wrong on Southbury Training School
Opinion | Shelagh P. McClure, Chairwoman, CT Council on Developmental Disabilities |
January 6, 2016
As the chairwoman of the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, I was
extremely disappointed to read Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's inaccurate comments regarding Southbury Training School and its residents [Jan. 4, Page 1, "Malloy: Southbury Decision Not Easy"].
There are individuals with intellectual disabilities living in the community today with the same and, in some cases, more complex, disabilities than residents at STS… The sooner we dispel this misinformation and close STS and Connecticut's five regional centers, the sooner people in institutions will become full members of our communities, and funds saved can be made available for those who now live at home without help or hope.
Read in full with comments from readers
Southbury Training School Supporters Suggest Expansion
Associated Press | January 5, 2016
Advocates for people living at Southbury Training School say the facility for people with severe developmental disabilities should be expanded to help people on a state waiting list, not closed as some groups suggest…Southbury supporters disagree that closing the facility will save significant money and contend its’ role should be updated and renewed. Read more…
Please read the Home and School Association’s recommendations to improve the I/DD waiting list crisis in CT and the overall health of the DDS system.
Malloy: Closure of Southbury Facility More Complicated
Susan Haigh, Associated Press | January 3, 2016
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says closing Southbury Training School for people with severe intellectual disabilities is a more complicated budget-savings proposition than he first thought.
While Southbury's residential population has declined over the years to 270 as of Thursday — due to death, people moving into community-based settings and the end to new admissions — Malloy said there remains a group of people who still need "exceptional care" costing a lot of money.
"I think the legislature needs to understand that most of the people at Southbury really are extraordinary cases and no matter where they are, they're going to be more expensive to care for," Malloy said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Malloy, who previously voiced support for possibly closing Southbury, said he has visited the facility and since learned more about the unique care that's being provided, acknowledging he was "caught up in a one-size-fits-all" way of thinking earlier.
"We have elderly people who require a much higher level of treatment and it happens to be there. And because it's got a name and because it's got a history, people just kind of group it together," he said of the sprawling campus, which dates back to the late 1930s and has been the subject of various lawsuits.
"Not that I'm saying that Southbury as it once existed, even necessarily as it currently exists, should exist forever. Just that it's a more complicated issue," Malloy said.
The Democrat's comments come shortly after the General Assembly passed a budget-cutting bill that included language requiring the Office of Policy and Management Secretary and the Department of Developmental Disabilities commissioner to provide a plan by Dec. 31 to close Southbury and several regional centers.
The Developmental Disabilities commissioner already has begun soliciting public input about the future of Southbury, requesting submissions in October. Commissioner Morna Murray said she hopes to provide recommendations to Malloy by April 30.
Opinions are strong about the Southbury's future.
A coalition of disability rights groups, led by the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, has called for closing the facility by 2020. The group contends any savings realized should be spent reducing the lengthy waiting list for state services for people with disabilities, including supportive housing in the community. Meanwhile, a caucus of state legislators has also announced support for closing six state-run institutions, including Southbury, by 2020.
"There is definite movement now to talk about how the plan is going to go forward," said Molly Cole, director of the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities. "It's just very sad to me that we're having, in this day and age, a conversation about whether to close a place that in today's world would never be opened because it's illegal."
The Home and School Association of the Southbury Training School is an advocacy group that includes relatives of the remaining residents who believe their loved ones are thriving at Southbury. The association argues that closure of Southbury and the other regional sites will cost Connecticut a significant amount of money over many years and exacerbate the current waiting list for services.
"In addition, the residents of these facilities have the legal right to remain there," the group states on its website, "and we intend to defend that right."
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