“No Room?”

The list of words below is taken directly from the Developmental Disabilities Administration Vision, Mission and Values Statements:

Supporting Individuals – Continually improving supports – Individualizing supports – Building support plans based on needs – Engaging Individuals and families – transforming lives – Respect – Person Centered Planning – Partnerships – Community Participation – Innovation

I wonder why these concepts are violated by the very agency to which they belong and the agency which is there to build and sustain supports for our citizens with intellectual disabilities.

Currently, we have people in crisis in our local community who are eligible for and have requested emergent admission to the local Residential Habilitation Center, Fircrest (RHC).  The request was denied based on “no room” and the department is working hard, against the choices of the individual, her family and her guardians, to “divert” her to “community” homes which are not safe or appropriate for her needs or ship her away to the RHCs far from her family and community.  How do these actions fit in with the vision of the department?

Fircrest Institutional campus

These actions are not unique to the individual mentioned.  This is how the department chooses to manage the choices and requests of those with high support needs who request the supports and services available at the RHCs.  We hear that people do not want these supports and services, but this is not the real story of what is happening behind closed doors.

These photos below were taken August 1, 2014 showing a fully remodeled and empty unit which could house up to 16 people who need supports and services.  These are at the very RHC which the department states “no room”.  If we were allowed to utilize these units on campus we would not only be providing much-needed services to individual and their families but also being good stewards of our public resources.

open room 1 oepn roomopen kitcen

There is no reason people who need the level of supports in the RHC are denied due to “no room.” 

It is simply not true.

Please help us  utilize the resources we have.


By utilizing the resources we have we can help prevent crisis and trauma to people and their families.  We can support stability in people’s lives and have sustainable programs – if we were only allowed to do it.

The restrictions being forced upon people with intellectual disabilities are limiting their choices by making false assumptions about what people need and want.

Help us to hold the Developmental Disabilities Administration accountable to their own Vision, Mission and Values Statements!

DDA mission and vision

3 comments on ““No Room?”

  1. Jeanie Barrett says:

    Deer Sheryl,

    You write such fantastic emails. Would it be all right for me to send this message on to all the legislators? I send them out individually so this will take some time – especially right now. I am still moving. I can do a few each day during my rest time. Jeanie

    Dear Senator or Representative _______: I just received this message from, Cheryl one of our strongest and most reliable advocates for our developmentally disabled citizens. I couldn’t express her thoughts, beliefs, and observations more accurately and forcefully. Useful empty space is just as readily available to move residents into Rainier School, Lakeland Village and Yakima Valley as there is space at Fircrest School. You might reactivate Francis Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton and stop the destruction of the school building (ESB) at Rainier School. The same level of care as an RHC cannot be provided in a community home. I have two incidents of community living experience with my own disabled son to verify this! Please give careful consideration to her message. Thank you.


    Jeanie Barrett, Mother of Lonnie, Rainier School RHC Former Special Education Teacher for medically fragile,severe- profound developmetally disabled students


  2. C says:

    The whole system is broken. With having first hand experience at an ICF/ID I can assure you that caregivers try their best to be an advocate for the residents and to help them live their best lives. A major problem though, is that caregivers are underpaid and undervalued. The ICF/ID I have experience with cannot seem to retain caregivers and the ones that stay are continually forced to work double shifts. This facility is short staffed in the first place and then any time a resident at an ICF/ID has to be hospitalized for medical needs beyond the scope of care at an ICF/ID, a caregiver from needs to be with them at the hospital at all times (thus shortening the staff supply at the ICF/ID even further). It seems to be a vicious cycle of forcing caregivers to stay for a double shift and then the caregivers burning out and leaving the facility to work elsewhere (possibly out of healthcare for good) So, maybe a facility has open beds, but they probably don’t have the staff to cover them..


    • Agree – the caregivers are the backbone. Caregiving is in a crisis and until legislators put their money where their mouth is, it will continue to be in crisis. Even if they are not working double shifts – they are most likely working a second job somewhere else.


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