Fact or Fiction?

Personally, I do not favor one type of environment over another as long as the person has choice and they and their families understand the issues and the person is safe.  It is for this reason that I fight so hard to help others to understand the real issues and research the data for facts – not fiction or magical thinking  – so people can be aware.

One issue that is extremely disturbing is the groundless “fact” that people believe to be true – that living in the community costs less.   When looking at the whole picture, living in dispersed housing for those with higher support needs costs much, much more than living in a supportive community such as a Residential Habilitation Center (RHC)  or Intermediate Care Facility/Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/ID)

Today I am posting Pie Charts of Costs which were taken from Certified Copies of Cost Reports that various types of agencies submitted to our state (Washington).  We hear that the services in the “Community ICF/IDs” are just the same as those in the RHCs but by looking at these simple graphs one can clearly see this is not the case.

Please take a look – more data will be forthcoming regarding costs, services and cost-shifting.

RHC Cost Breakdown


The RHC offers a comprehensive Package to those with high support needs who choose this supportive community setting.


Community ICF ID cost Breakdown


We are told the “Community” ICF/ID offers the very same services as the RHC – the cost data does not support that statement.


Group Home Costs Breakdown


Group Homes offer fewer services and are generally for those with less high support needs.


Supported Living Cost Breakdown


Supported Living Homes offer even fewer services and supports.  



Mud-Slinging Olympics

Mudslinging Olympics

My latest research regarding issues in the Shoreline School District and funding of high-needs special education students has uncovered so many inconsistencies that it will take some time to unravel the truth.

Aside from the school district’s budget woes, for which some of our most vulnerable children are becoming the scapegoat for, I have discovered some gems in going through archives.  Now with our state budget balanced and our Developmental Disabilities community coming out of the process better than expected from the beginning of the legislative session, I am very thankful to all who advocated for the needs of our most vulnerable.

In order to keep this momentum going, we must unite and stop the mud-slinging from one faction to another.  We can only improve by uniting and realizing that we need a continuum or care model.  In my research, I have come across so many issues that show fault with both (community and institution) systems and also many that show the benefits of both systems.  Neither systems is better or worse for the whole population – we need both for safe, quality and cost-effective care.  We need both systems to provide for the our community members based on their assessed level of supports and also to adhere to the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Olmstead and the US DD Act.

Below is part of an Editorial from “The Enterprise” from Friday April 28, 2006.  The Enterprise was the local Shoreline/ Lake Forest Park newspaper operated by The Herald, which printed it’s last edition on October 28, 2009.

April 28, 2006 – Editorial

“A half-century ago, the one-size service was institutionalization, coming in the form of facilities such as Fircrest School in Shoreline.  More recently, the pendulum has swung toward community-based residential care, houses in neighborhoods.  Proponents of both approaches make similar arguments that their plan offers more efficient and better care.  Each side also points to the abuses and lapses of care under the other system as evidence of the correctness of their crusade.

The reality is that no single approach can possibly be appropriate for every individual.  Abuse and lapses in care are evidence that any system is at the mercy of the frailties of humankind, frailties that must be braced bur are unlikely to be eradicated.

Recently, supporters of several former Fircrest residents filed a lawsuit, claiming a move to another intuition did harm to their charges.  On the other hand, the state is in the midst of investigating several group homes over concerns of inadequate care.

One need only to look at these examples – and many others – to see past the rhetoric and see that one size does not fit all and that a full spectrum of care choices must be available.”

My hope is that advocates for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities across the spectrum read this and understand that what we need is a spectrum to best serve this population.  The spectrum is the way to provide stability and sustainability.

Please, for the best interest of those who we are all trying to advocate for, realize that a spectrum is needed to best serve ALL people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and that CHOICE is mandated by Supreme Court Decisions and Federal Law.

About the picture:

Mudflad Olympic Games – maybe we should do something like this as a fundraiser and stress reliever for advocates?

Brunsbüttel, Germany, August 30, 2009–A competitor throws a ball in the annual Mudflat Olympic Games, a charity sports event played exclusively in mud.

One of the games is the eel relay race, during which runners carry a fake-eel “baton” made of a bicycle tire’s inner tube filled with rotting fish guts, rice, and a vibrator, according to the German publication The Local.

— Photograph by Krafft Angerer/Bongarts/Getty Images