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Very Near Tears

Published September 25, 2016 by Nan Mykel

sadcandleI am very near tears when imagining what lies ahead for the zika mosquito babies.

A rally was held in Gallipolis, Ohio Thursday in support of the staff and residents of the Gallipolis Developmental Center who are falling prey to the mis-used power of some elected state officials. My daughter Sallie, visiting from Atlanta,  captured most of the speeches on video for Kaleidoscope, the Athens public access cable 23 show.  It will play on You tube  after awhile.  I can only share some of the primary concerns of residents at GDC and their families.

The tape will run the next two weeks on Access, listed as Kaleidoscope.

CONCERNS:

A state developmental center near Dayton and one near Youngstown  will close entirely by July 1, 2017,  and while  the state legislature  passed a bill to provide an Oversight Committee to insure that the process of transition from these centers be safe and in the resident’s best interests, GOVERNOR KASICH  VETOED  it.

The group homes won’t have the same level of essential services provided currently.  Staff training is minimal and staff turnover robust. (The “second family” concept will not develop.)

There will be no cameras required to follow the safety of residents.  (In the state facilities there are cameras in public areas to protect residents and staff,)

Families, guardians and residents have been led to believe that if dissatisfied with a new group home after leaving GDC,  they can choose to return to GDC.  This is not now the case. (One of these sad cases is current).

An impending firing of 32 GDC staff has been announced, with  half of them being re-hired part-time.

Allegedly EMS has had to visit one group home with narcan for a staff member who overdosed on street drugs at work.

The residents’  workshop has been moved out of Gallia county, requiring  an hour and half round trip to a different county.

Parents and guardians were told  that if the resident  doesn’t decide to go now, the best group homes would be filled,  and only the least desirable ones will be available.

“Deinstitutionalization.-There is a nationwide trend towards deinstitutionalization of patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities in favor of community-based settings. The Department [of Justice] is strongly urged to continue to factor the needs and desires of patients, their families, caregivers, and other stakeholders, as well as the need to provide proper settings for care, into its enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”  ( Conference Report to accompany H.R. 83, Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Division B, Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies) (Pub.L. 113-235, December 16, 2014)

At the community level in Athens, one of the reasons for closing the ATCO sheltered workshop which has served the community for decades, was Medicaid, “segregation” (!!) , and “access to the community” (!!).

“Creating a disjointed, fragmented, and incredibly costly system of small house settings will only increase the difficulty of providing care, community experiences, and choice for the 6,800 developmentally disabled Ohioans. In fact, this is likely to result in the opposite of community integration — isolation.”  (See vor.net)

“Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are far too frequently finding life-sustaining services pulled out from under them by agencies charged with the duty to protect them – namely state departments of developmental disabilities and protection and advocacy organizations. They attempt to use the law as a weapon against the community of people with disabilities instead of the tonic it is meant to be. ”  (Caroline A. Lachman  at vor.net)

We were very fortunate 45 years ago when my Downs daughter was born into a supportive, caring society, as opposed to today…and tomorrow?

 

Speakers urged EVERYONE to telephone Gov. Kasich once a day for 30 days to support the establishment of the  Oversight Committee which the state legislature passed:

  •               1-614-466-3555  day or night

 

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