Washington State, DSHS and DDD discriminate against our youth

With the passage of a new law which our Governor, DSHS Secretary and some prominent groups which masquerade as disability advocates celebrate as “historic,” they are certainly correct.  The reason that this law is “historic” is because it discriminates against our most vulnerable citizens and in particular our youth with complex needs. 

 

 I must admit that I am still stunned by the passage of SSB 5459.  The process with which this bill was passed, the rhetoric which was continually pushed and the total dismissal of facts derived from data from the Department of Social and Health Services and The Developmental Disabilities Division’s own reports all pointed to a pre-planned action to dismantle the service system which supports a continuum of care for our citizens with disabilities. 

 

There are so many issues relating to this bill which are questionable from a legal standpoint in addition to total violation of Federal Statutes as determined by The Olmstead Decision.  Yet, for some reason, Governor Gregoire and DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus are celebrating what many of us consider one of the darkest days in disability advocacy. 

 

SSB 5459 prohibits admission of children under age 16 to a Residential Habilitation Center (RHC) for people with developmental disabilities and limits RHC admissions of youth, age 16-21, to short-term respite or crisis care.  Both of these two age groups are greatly discriminated against in this bill.  The civil rights of these groups are being singled out and denied.  This is a travesty – not only for these children but for their families and our communities as a whole. 

 

What we need to focus on are the needed supports for our citizens.  Prohibiting one group, based solely on age, even though they may require the needed supports that are provided in the RHC is denying these citizens their legal and civil rights.  DSHS states that the children should be living with their families and in their communities.  Yes, that is ideal but what DSHS and DDD are failing to realize is that there is a continuum of needs and this continuum goes across all age ranges.  For some, living in a community home or family home is not safe due to the limited supports available.

 

Ms. Dreyfus and many others, speak about the residents in the RHCs as if most are elderly, have lived there most of their lives and that the families and guardians are fearful and unaware of the services in the community.  Ms. Dreyfus is very misguided in her understanding of this. 

 

In fact, there are many newer and younger residents who have been admitted to the RHCs in the past years.  These families have chosen the RHC community as the better option for their children mostly because the services and community supports were not adequate or safe for their children.  The RHC has saved the lives of many of these youth and strengthened their families by providing comprehensive, safe and healthy care to their loved ones. 

 

I recently asked Ms. Dreyfus what would happen to these children under 16 who could not be safely cared for in a community residential home or family home.  Her response to me was that the families will always have the choice of an RHC but they will have to go out of state.  I ask, is that really a CHOICE?  From my experience and others, the other choice that DDD would offer is to have the police take our loved one with a developmental disability to jail.  Why are Washington State, DSHS and DDD refusing to allow our eligible youth full access to the needed supports and services which they are legally, by Federal Statutes, entitled to?

 

Somebody from The Arc, please explain this to me!

I’m very curious as to why a Disability Advocacy Group would oppose this legislation.  Could someone from The Arc please explain the position as to why the agency opposes this?

 

From what I read, this legislation upholds the civil rights and choices of the individual – isn’t that what we want?

 

I’m extremely confused by the opposition to H.R. 2032

 

 

(This notice is from The Arc – I do not endorse this nor do many who fight for the civil rights of our citizens with disabilities)

 

Civil Rights

Bill Name

Number of Sponsors

Position

H.R. 2032 – To protect the interests of each resident of intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded in class action lawsuits by federally-funded entities involving such residents and in Department of Justice actions that could result in an agreement to move such a resident from that resident’s facility. 31 (15 R, 16 D) We OPPOSE this legislation

 

 

http://www.capwiz.com/thearc/issues/bills/

DD Coalition

Check out this new group:

DD Coalition  

dd-coalition@googlegroups.com

Developmental Disabilities Advocacy Coalition for Washington State. This group advocates for a
continuum of care for our citizens with DD.

This includes person-centered care
which focuses on quality of life issues, health, safety and community for our
loved ones.

Court Rejects Claims of Abuse

Finally, the courts are listening to the real experts in the care of our citizens with developmental disabilities  –  the families and guardians.

We need to maintain a continuum of care for the health and safety of ALL people with developmental disabilities.  This is a victory for those who need the very critical part of that continuum that many with skewed ideologies have been trying to eliminate.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/06/09/court-rejects-claims-institution/13294/

What’s the Better Deal?

A Father Speaks

Who are the experts with regards to disability advocacy?  I believe the experts are the people who are involved with, love and care for our most vulnerable citizens.  These people are the families and caregivers.  The experts are not the ideologues that sit in offices thinking up ways in which they think our citizens should live.

Here is a letter from one of our experts – a father:

DDD Errors and misinformation

Due to continued reliance on the reports from DDD and DSHS, I am now writing daily reports informing our senators of the flawed data and analysis in the information they are receiving.  If anyone would like sources of the original documents and data, let me know – I have them.

Special Olympics – Shoreline Stadium

What a great day yesterday – not only did the sun come out but there was a huge turnout of athletes for the Special Olympics Track meet at Shoreline Stadium.

It was great to run into people from all stages of life and events from the past years.  Our kids are growing up, joining different teams and branching out in various programs.  This was one place where you can actually experience the full continuum of needs and abilities of people with developmental disabilities.  It’s also so inspiring to see people of all ages participating in these events.

I came away from the meet very inspired – the joy expressed by the athletes is contagious.  We’re

looking forward to the next meet on May 14.

What is The Arc of King County afraid of?

If the health and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens was not at stake over these issues, I would actually find the petty and childish behavior of the “Advocates” funny.  Who are these people and what is their agenda?  I’d really like to know because they certainly to not advocate for the same people that I and other people in grass roots groups do.

Are they afraid of people questioning them and possibly finding out the mismanagement of our public funds that has cost us MILLIONS?

1.  They are not “Advocates” for our most vulnerable citizens – in fact, they are quite the opposite.  Hearing the cheers and congratulations for closures of our RHCS, a move which is devastating for many, by these people and their pawns, only solidifies the fact that they do not advocate for all.

2.  They are not interested in any information that is brought up that indicates extreme mismanagement of our public funds by DSHS. If you look at the Washington State Auditors website and read the reports you will be astounded by the lack of oversight with our public money in the hands of DSHS.

3.  If this mismanagement was even slightly corrected, there would be millions of dollars saved which could then be put towards real care of our citizens.

4. They are advocating for expensive social experiments to be done with the lives of our most vulnerable citizens  – they want to forge ahead with their blinders on regarding true costs – both in dollars and in peoples’ lives.

5.  Assessments and Quality Assurance surveys that have been mandated by law have not been completed or analyzed.  Regardless of this fact, these programs are considered “successful” – by what standards?

6.  One success story that was presented to the public is about an autistic man.  He lived in an RHC for many years and finally was becoming stable.  It was decided to transition this man to a “community” setting – this process took 2 years and many, many hours of intense 1:1 and sometimes 2:1 assistance and behavior support.  He did move to a home and a new job (doing the same sorting type of job but rather than in a sheltered workshop he was now supported in a factory).  Their story ended here -SUCCESS?  – well what they didn’t tell us was that this man only lasted a few months in the job at the factory.  Something happened – we don’t know what but he’s back to square one, more intsensive supports and searching for another job.  I don’t call this success – I call this a social experiment with this man’s life.

He was fine and his behavior was controlled and he had a job – I can’t imagine what this experiment, which DDD, DSHS, The Arc and other agencies call a success cost our citizens.

This is social experimentation done to our most vulnerable citizens?  Did this man have a choice?

They consistently remove posts from public social network sites of any posting that might question their platform.

I have too many of my deleted and censored posts to keep track of them.  I will post links to some of the more recent ones that have been removed.

Cost Breakdowns for RHCS – Most Cost Effective Care

With all the disastrous budget woes we are currently experiencing, now is not the time to irresponsibly start a social experiment with our most vulnerable citizens.  Looking through the reports for “Money Follows the Person” report for January – June 2010, (Mathematica Reference Number 06352.400)

It is clearly evident that we do not have enough resources for those already in the community – why would anyone even consider moving more people with more complex needs out of their safe, cost effective home?

These are quotes from the MFP report:

 

2/3 states reported difficulty reaching transition goals – listed in order of importance

  1. Shortage of affordable and accessible qualified housing
  2. Complex needs of the target population
  3. Transition candidates not choosing to reside in an MFP-qualified residence
  4. Family opposition, particularly among candidates with developmental disabilities.
  5. Shortage of slots in their HCBS waivers
  6. Contracting delays
  7. Cuts in the state budget
  8. Inadequate service capacity
  9. Lack of caregiver supports
  10. Staff turnover

 

Rates of reinstitutionalization : most common factors are:

l. lack of informal supports in the community

2. Lack of formal paid service or supports in the community

 

Emergency Calls for backup assistance:

34.9%  of calls were in response to direct service or support workers not showing up as scheduled

2.8%  were to address transportation to get to medical appointments

 

MFP continues to encounter systemic challenges related to state budget cuts, scarce housing options, limits imposed on Medicaid HCBS benefits and shortages of services and providers.

Washington reports that hiring freezes, furloughs and lay-offs have strained available staff resources and in some cases limited the MFP program’s ability to make timely transitions, conduct trainings, or perform outreach.

 

Given this very dismal picture of what life in the “community” is like – how could anyone advocate to move a person from their safe home into these unchartered waters?

The charts below indicate the actual cost to our state for the care in our RHCs.  This is the cost for comprehensive care with trained, stable staff.  This is what we need to maintain and expand on to keep our most vulnerable and challenging citizens safe and healthy in addition to sharing these services with those who already reside in another community setting.