How You Can Advocate for STS
There are many actions you can take to help shape a better future for I/DD individuals who desperately need the quality, long-term care solutions STS provides. Here are some suggestions:
The best I/DD advocates are informed advocates. Sign up for our e-alerts about events, workshops, forums, and fairs organized by the CT Department of Developmental Services (DDS), the SEIU199 Union, and others.
Attend DDS Events and Make Connections
Make a point of attending events, workshops, and fairs for DDS caregivers. These are perfect opportunities to connect with people who have I/DD loved ones on the DDS group home waiting list. Many may be receptive to protecting the rights of I/DD individuals and to supporting STS as a solution to the waiting list crisis in Connecticut.
Tell Legislators Your Personal Story
Contact your elected officials and tell them about your experiences at STS. Explain why STS is your choice for quality care and services. Tell them that STS, with its sophisticated equipment, experienced staff, and trained medical teams, is uniquely qualified to meet the needs of I/DD individuals unable to live within a community group home setting.
At the November 6, 2016 General Membership Meeting Lauralyn Lewis, Director of Advocacy for CT DDS Families First, gave an inspiring presentation regarding the importance of families meeting with their legislators to share their stories. She has seen firsthand what a difference that makes, but more families need to get involved. To read a brief summary of Lauralyn's message follow this link.
Make it Personal to the Legislators
Ask your legislators if they have ever actually met an individual with severe intellectual or physical disabilities or talked to their families. Challenge them to do so in order to learn first-hand what the hardships and needs are in providing adequate levels of care and services for I/DD individuals with unique needs.
Describe the Crisis in Connecticut
In 1986 the STS population was over 1,000. On October 18, 2020, there were 156 aging residents still living at STS. As the population dwindles at STS, the waiting list for placement of other I/DD individuals in Connecticut continues to grow. In June 2020, the waiting list was over 2,000 individuals. Approximately 100 of these individuals are considered "emergency", meaning they need immediate placement and over 800 are considered "urgent" meaning they require placement within a year. Those placements are not taking place. Some families have waited 25 years or more to find a suitable living arrangement for their loved ones, such as those available at STS. In addition, nearly 300 I/DD individuals in Connecticut are living in nursing homes, which are not staffed to provide appropriate care. Even so, new admissions at STS remain closed.
Urge Legislators to Visit STS
Invite your legislators to STS so they can see for themselves why you choose STS for your loved one. The experience may help gain their support toward making STS a choice for those on the waiting list who desperately need the long-term quality care STS currently provides.
Do your part
to spread the word
And please ...
invite the people you meet – parents, guardians, people with loved ones on the waiting list, lawmakers, the media – to contact the Home and School Association.
Reach out to Media
Write letters-to-the-editor of local and state newspapers. Scope out online news sources and submit your own personal story about what STS means to you. Do a Google search to find disability news stories and, if appropriate, post comments about STS.
Get Active on Social Media
"Like" Home and School STS on Facebook.
Please share this Facebook page with your support groups, those with families on the waiting list, and providers.
Google search to find I/DD parent groups that may have online forums or message boards you can join, or social media such as Facebook or Twitter you can participate in.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L. C. has been frequently misrepresented as a mandate for inclusion, a simple, one-sided declaration that all individuals with I/DD must live in community-based settings. In fact, Olmstead guarantees choice for all individuals, their parents, and guardians. There is no mandate to deny access to institutions, to close institutions, nor to place at risk any individuals who need and choose institutional care.