“Sheltered Workshops” or “Community Employment”

I have some major concerns regarding the push for community employment for those with intellectual disabilities.  While I fully support employment and finding the right job for the person with IDD, I wonder how this is really feasible  – both from an economic standpoint and looking at productivity.

I would love to have some people explain to me how this system really works and how it can be sustainable if the so-called “sheltered workshops” are closed and cease to exist.  With regards to the issues of minimum wage and competitive wage, one does need to take productivity into account.

It also needs to be explained that in “sheltered workshops” the wages are not by the hour but generally by the work completed. So, it may seem that the person working there is making far below minimum wage but then again if the person only completes one task isn’t it only right to get paid for what is completed?  If one got paid for the time it took to complete it, the productivity would be so low that the costs to maintain employment would be astronomical.

My son is involved in the School to Work Program.  He is transitioning from high school into adulthood and this will be his last year of school at age 21.  He has the opportunity to work in a sheltered workshop, and currently does that on school breaks and during the summer.  He LOVES this opportunity – but not because he is working and earning money, but because he is around people he knows and talks with, he knows the schedule of snacks, lunch and they listen to music on the radio.  Any “work” that he actually does is very, very minimal and he has to be guided extensively to stay on task as his attention span is about 2 seconds at the maximum.  He is not driven to earn money since he does not have the concept of what money really is.  He knows one needs money to buy things but that’s about the extent of his understanding.

Even though my son loves the adult training center, I also know that he has abilities that could take him much farther and I want him to have the opportunity to be out in the community.  He is very interested in community events and current events and the fact that school will be ending (an environment in which he has thrived his whole life) his ability to continue learning in an educational environment will end.  There are no continuing educational opportunities for people like my son.  There are no community colleges or universities that have “special education” classes for those with IDD to continue learning.  School is done and it’s time to work.

Yet for people like my son, why does this have to be the way?  Why can’t we look at life long learning opportunities or continued educational opportunities in subjects they may be interested in – just like everyone else?  My other children had the opportunity and choice for education after high school but my son with IDD does not have that choice.

The school to work program is for students living in the community.  My son was going to be excluded because he lives in an intermediate care facility.  Even though he has attended public school his whole life and has been integrated into many community activities and events in our local community, the funding for program for those with developmental disabilities does not cross boundaries – one is either “in the community” or “in the institution” and this is where I really question the rigid boundaries of funding that prohibit choice and growth.

With the push for community integration, if we are not going to allow those who need the residential and health supports of the intermediate care facility to tap into funds and programs that all others have access too, how are we ever going to really see what could be possible?  This is a continuum of care and we need to have access to both sides of the fence.

But back to my questions regarding feasibility, productivity and jobs.  I am looking at this realistically knowing my son and his abilities.  Even though he has some wonderful skills and even extra-ordinary skills, the fact that he can not focus for more than 2 seconds and has very limited ability with fine motor skills, job opportunities are very, very limited.  He will need a 1:1 job coach at all times with him on any job and that is something that would have to remain in place continuously with any job placement.

So, where do the funds for this come from?  Does the employer pay both my son and his coach a wage?  That hardly seems economically feasible to pay two people for one job.  In addition to that, would the job be done up to standard (quality and/or quantity) by my son (or other person with IDD?) I really do not understand how anyone could expect that someone with my son’s abilities would be able to hold a job earning a competitive wage – in my mind this is not realistic knowing my son.

I would love to see both educational and vocational opportunity choices for people with IDD to access after high school.  Why is it assumed that their education is over and done with?

What happens to those who will not be able to work independently if that is the only job choice that is given?  What happens to the families? What happens when the parent needs to stay home with their adult child because there are not opportunities – work or recreation – during the day for the adult child?  How does anyone in the family earn a wage if the parent then needs to become the full-time caregiver of the adult child?

There are many questions and few answers which take into the account the fact that we have a large heterogeneous population but the population is seen as “all alike” in their support needs.  We forget there is a continuum and we need to account for people all along that continuum.

I worked in a sheltered workshop

For the past 3 years I worked in what was essentially a “sheltered workshop.”

I had worked for this large Medical Center for over 20 years when I developed a disability due to being a long-term caregiver to my son with intense support needs.  I requested an ADA accommodation which was very reasonable and actually would have been beneficial to the unit I had worked on – but the management had changed and this particular manager did not appreciate nurses who questioned anything – so consequently, the ADA accommodation that I requested ( to work 8 hours shifts, any day of the week, between the hours of 7AM and 11PM) was found to be unreasonable.  I essentially lost my job on the unit which I loved.

After being put on unpaid leave against my wishes and filing a grievance, the only job that this huge medical center could offer a skilled, committed nurse with compassion for patient care, was a position in pre-op surgery  – this job is the lowest of the low for nurses – a place where those who can’t do their jobs are sent  –   yet is supposed to be the final safety check for patients prior to going into surgery.  I saw the job just as that and became aware of many errors and issues that needed to be corrected – but rather than being thanked or appreciated for trying to improve issues with patient care and safety, I was continually reprimanded.  One manager told me that “this is like Swiss cheese, some things just slip through the holes”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!

This job was in the basement of the hospital – 3 floors below the ground – no windows and smelled musty.  Countless days passed with no breaks and time was wasted trying to get the slow elevator to ground level which meant that the 30 minute lunch break was only 20 minutes or less.  My colleague and I were treated as people without brains – only people who were supposed to do one task over and over again (start IV’s in surgery patients) without thought to what was going on with the patients.  We were to act as robots without brains.  We were to ignore issues that were of concern to patient safety because our job was only to start the IV.  If there was a difficult patient or some issues that caused a delay, we were reprimanded for holding up the “flow” of the department.  What ever went wrong or slowed the process, was blamed on us.

I was called into the manager’s office many times to be reprimanded for looking up things on the computer.  I told the managers that I would look up things I didn’t know, medications I was unfamiliar with, conditions on the patient’s history and physical that I needed to know more about or education on nursing issues.  I was told that I was not allowed to educate myself on company time – that wasn’t part of my job description.

No wonder I began to hate my job and hate going to work.  I had never experienced such job dissatisfaction in my over 25 years of being a nurse.  I was essentially being paid to not think and to not be a nurse.  I felt like I had a master watching every move and if I didn’t stay on task a huge whip would come down on my shoulders and I lived in constant fear of being fired for trying to give quality patient care.

As I was talking to a friend about my new job and how happy I am in it describing my day, my friend said “it’s normal but you were treated like a slave for the past 3 years so what is typical and professional for others seems odd to you coming from your old job.”  It then dawned on me that I had really experienced what many say a sheltered work shop is – working in sub-standard conditions, doing the same task over and over and over with no ability for advancement or progress.  One difference though is that I was paid well for my job – but then money isn’t everything.

I have to say though that “sheltered workshops” are not all like what many believe they are.  They are not assembly line jobs with the person doing the same task hour after hour and day after day with no opportunities to try new things or to experience pride in their work or to earn good wages.  Many operate as supported employment – developing the skills that each individual shows potential in.

I know my experience is very different than that of people who have ID and do not have appropriate or adequate supports or have choice in what they may or may not do or where they may choose to work but it did give a glimpse into the process of pushing people down into holes where they do not fit and not allowing them to learn, grow and contribute and be a productive part of the team.

 

Shame on DRW (Disability Rights Washington)

AS an advocate for our community members with developmental and intellectual disabilities with the highest support needs, I have been thoroughly ashamed and disappointed in the position of Disability Rights Washington (DRW).  DRW is supposed to be the protection and advocacy agency for these very citizens yet I see they are actually doing much harm to this population which has the greatest need.

DRW operates a blog entitled DisAbility Rights Galaxy.  One would think that they would welcome comments but I believe they only welcome comments which they find agree totally with what they have written.  I find it interesting that Mark Stroh, the editor, refers to the following rule as to why my comment will not be posted:

Comments we know or suspect to be inaccurate which are presented as factual. We will error on the side of caution here. As an unknown wise person once said, you are entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to your own facts. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information in the comment section and expressly disclaim any liability for any information posted, or websites linked, to here.

as a reason that posts that I have written will  not be allowed and sit in limbo of “awaiting moderation” forever.  I think what he means to say is “our opinions are facts and therefore if anyone questions them they are only stating their opinion which is not fact since it does not agree with our “facts.”

The most recent issue of conern is that regarding “Sheltered workshops”  I have copied and pasted the original posting from Disability Rights Galaxy and my comment which is still in moderation and will not be posted.

Report: Sheltered workshops “exploit” people with disabiliites (sic)

Andy Jones | April 8, 2012

The National Disability Rights Network released a new report April 3 detailing how federal funding priorities entice states to funnel people with disabilities into sheltered workshop programs that segregate them from the regular workforce.

Opportunity Ahead Road Sign

People with disabilities want inclusive jobs

The report, titled “Beyond Segregated and Exploited,” is an update on ascathing report, released by NDRN in January 2011, that called for an end to subminimum wages and poor working conditions for people with disabilities.

“What we found was a system that does not provide truly meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities and in many instances exploits theirdisability for the financial gain of employers,” said NDRN executive director Curt Decker in the most recent report. “We found a system that traps these workers in endless “training” programs that prepare them for nothing and often leaves them impoverished. Worse, federal laws and programs as well as many provider organizations within the disability service system help facilitate this travesty.”

States receive money for sheltered workshops, separate work programs meant to provide employment for people with disabilities, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Rehabilitative Services Administration. However, these programs are not balanced with funding for programs to assist individuals with transitioning into the workforce.

For example, in Ohio, where 97 percent of the state’s disability employment funding is directed toward sheltered workshop programs, more than 5,200 workers are earning an average of $1 an hour. As detailed in a series of articles by the Columbus Dispatch, these programs receive almost no oversight. Despite havimg the largest number of individuals employed in sheltered workshops nationwide, the state’s 40 percent poverty rate for people with disabilities is among the nation’s highest.

“Despite CMS’ and RSA’s expressed preference for integrated employment, the heavy flow of Medicaid dollars spent on prevocational services and RSA’s policy allowing workers to get those services in sheltered settings does not support the call for community-based employment,” the report states.

Federal law allows sheltered workshops to employ pay individuals less than the minimum wage under a Great Depression era law designed to bolster employment for people with disabilities.

The report provides an overview of a number of efforts by Protection & Advocacy organizations around the country to improve conditions and opportunities for people in sheltered workshops, including a class action lawsuit filed in January by Disability Rights Oregon which argues that Oregon’s system of sheltered workshops violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily segregating people with disabilities.

The report calls for an end to federal and state funding to sheltered workshops that segregate people with disabilities from the workforce, the creation of new tax incentives for employers to hire people with disabilities and increased labor protections and enforcement.

Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

It is true that Sheltered Workshops do not train people for “truly meaningful employment” and there may be people who work or spend time in these facilities who could benefit from other opportunities. I fully support employment for people with developmental disabilities but there are also many misconceptions about sheltered workshops which advocates publicize which simply are not true.

There are benefits to sheltered workshops and they should not be banished. Maybe if the name was changed to something else and the pretense of “training” for another job was removed, they might be better accepted by some disability advocates.

Regarding the pay – most of these workshops do not pay by the hour – they pay by piece work. If a person decides to not work but socialize all day – they won’t get paid for the “work” because they are not working. Yet, if they sit and do some work for awhile, get some things done, take a social break for a couple of hours then do some more work, they will get paid for the work they have done.

For many, the workshops provide not only employment but a pattern to their day, personal support, socialization, community involvement and more. If this is taken away without a replacement for these supports and relationships what are the people left with?

We are finding this every day with more and more supports being taken away. Many are now left with nothing. There are few day programs and if people are able to find a supported employment situation that time is only for a few hours a week. Who supports the person for the remaining hours?

With the turnover rate about 40% for caregivers in supported living homes, these people will then be left at home – that means more people to care for in their homes and fewer caregivers to care for them.

I’m sorry but for me that spells disaster.

The letter below is the first letter that I sent to inquire about the state of limbo.  I did not receive a response.  Today, when I again emailed Mr. Stroh, he sent me the rules and highlighted the informaion above as the reason that my comment will not be allowed.

To: mstroh@dr-wa.org
Subject: Disability Galaxy posting
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 18:15:13 -0700

Dear Mr. Stroh,

I’m curious about the timeline for having a reply to a posting moderated?  I posted the message below on April 11, 2012 and it is still “awaiting moderation.”  This is not the first time that a message that I have written to clarify some issue has been in this state of limbo for an extended period of time.

I understand that my letter does not necessarily support the posting on Disability Galaxy but I do believe that it is in the best interest of all to read other opinions about the issues.  Without a full understanding of how these issues affect our families and loved ones, how are people going to be fully informed.

Thank you very much,

 

I would love to know what Mr. Stroh finds so offensive or inaccurate in my comment.  Of course I do not believe that a sheltered workshop is the best place and they do not train workers for other jobs.  Yet, I do believe that sheltered workshops serve a purpose.  Just ask families of people with very high support needs – the people who now have no meaningful activities or structure to their day – ask them what they think are benefits of sheltered workshops.  DRW may be surprised but one would never know because these opinions are never allowed to be shared since they do not agree with the “facts” of DRW.

My response this morning to Mr. Stroh:

Thank you.  This is the right of your agency but I find that the editorializing that is done is harmful to those who DRW claims to advocate for.  This is a very sad state of affairs.  My posting is not inaccurate but it does not agree with your opinion and since this site is yours, you are welcome to post your opinion as fact but then do not allow others to question it.  This is not democracy.

I’m so sorry that your agency which is supposed to be the P&A agency for our vulnerable citizens is not living up to the job.

This is an example of the divisive advocacy and silencing of those who are very involved and know what it’s like in the “trenches”. We are not respected or valued for our opinions, insights and concerns. The very concerns which Olmstead upholds.   If these agencies are there to be the protection and advocacy agencies one would hope that they uphold the 1999 US Supreme Court Decision Olmstead which clearly states the individual has choices.  These choices are being taken away by those who believe their OPINION is fact.

It might be wise for Mr. Stroh to go back and read the Olmstead decision.  He may be enlightened by what it actually says.

Again, I will repeat my message to Mr. Stroh – I’m sorry but for me that spells disaster.

How to Provide for Community Integration

Supported employment is becoming the only program that will be available for people with intellectual disabilities after the age of 21.  This program is replacing the sheltered workshops and in so doing is eliminating a very important part of many people’s lives. Please do not misunderstand the issue that I am trying to convey – read the story before making comments.

While supported employment is also a needed and critical program, it does not best serve the needs of many of our loved ones – particularly those with a dual diagnosis of Intellectual disability and mental illness of mania, psychosis or schizophrenia.  The population with a dual diagnosis is in need of a program which provides a stable setting every day of the week for several hours.  They do not do well in settings in which they only have support a few hours a week and then are left to their own devices to manage the rest of their time.

As a parent of one of these people with a dual diagnosis, I know that the supported employment program will not be the program that serves his needs.  There are so many opportunities to include him in community activities in other programs but if all the funds are used in the supported employment programs, there will be nothing left for those who need another type of program to function optimally.

I was recently at a local meeting area which has several eateries which serve a commons.  I witnessed a young man who was being supported by a “coach” in his job.  He clearly had no interest in the job, was spinning around, looking at the ceiling, while the coach would take a tea bag, put it in his hand and then he would drop it in the correct bin.  The coach was attempting much hand-over-hand work with him but it really was her doing the work.  She then picked up the bin of dirty dishes; put it on the push cart and then they both pushed the cart out of the commons.

This scenario made me feel really sad.  If a person has only so much support to enable them to be out in the community and experience life, I would much rather have my son experiencing opportunities that he enjoys and which get him out with people in a more natural way.  These activities are going grocery shopping, going to the library, going to a restaurant, walking to the park, going to church – these are all normal activities which he greatly enjoys and interacts with all types of people.  These are activities which he needs a 1:1 support person to help him.

Other activities that my son greatly enjoys are meeting with people and being in groups.  This is what the “sheltered workshop” provides for him.  No, he doesn’t do much work there and it’s not training him for a future job but it does provide stability, group activities which he craves, interaction with people, and structure to his day.  These are all critical components to his care which will be gone if the sheltered workshop is closed.  The sheltered workshop is not a sweat shop nor is it slave labor.  He does learn skills and is capable of some work with 1:1 support at all times. He gets paid for the piece work that he is able to accomplish but that is definitely not his motivation since he does not understand the economics of having a job and supporting himself.

If my son was only allowed 5 hours a week of a support person, it would be much more beneficial to him to use that for activities which he enjoys and activities which he chooses rather than a type of “employment” that means nothing to him and is only there to make others feel good that they are accomplishing something.  This type of “employment” would be torture for my son.

My son and many like him are not going to be cured and will not be “getting better”.  Yes, they are able to learn but will always need a high level of support.  They are not people who can be taught a skill and then be sent off independently to do that skill.  Even when they know how to do something, they need the constant support to maintain focus and follow through.

People like my son are very much like people with Alzheimer’s disease.  A similar condition is dementia.  Dementia, which my son has, is a brain disorder which obstructs and diminishes cognitive performance such as memory, judgment, personality and social function.  We need to be realistic in the choices that we make with services.

Sheltered Workshops or Supported Employment – Different Roads for Different Folks

Today there was an article published in Disability Scoop regarding Sheltered Workshops.   This information in this is hardly new yet I do find some interesting concepts that have come out of this.  I have also finally realized what one of the issues may be – is a sheltered workshop considered a route to supported employment with a competitive wage or is the sheltered workshop looked at as a day program which has benefits of it’s own?

If a sheltered workshop is only seen as a learning ground for other employment, of course it is a failure in that light.  On the other hand, a sheltered workshop does serve a critical role in the care of some of our more complex and high needs citizens.

When looking at supported employment, many people are needing to choose between a few hours of supported employment a week with no other resources for the remaining hours or a sheltered workshop – a program that has structure for 30+ hours a week.  This is a horrilbe choice for many to have to make.  Why can’t there be supported employment for the hours that one is able to do that and also a day program – why does it have to be one or the other?

When a sheltered workshop is looked at as a day program it serves many purposes – engagement with others, time management, skill development, activity, community involvement – all critical issues. My son is one of those who greatly benefits from a sheltered employment.  I’m not saying these things to limit his growth – I’m speaking from the perspective of reality.  When a person requires constant 1:1 interaction to maintain focus and stay on task, has the emotional maturity of a two year old and does not have a desire to work, understand the concept of money or how to manage any life skills on their own – what type of supported employment would there be?  It is much more beneficial for him to be in a program that is consistent and has several hours every day in which he can participate.  He also does get paid for the work that he is able to accomplish but he is not even aware of that – he just loves being with people.

When people have to choose between a sheltered workshop or supported employment which really may not lead to a job at all, we are just adding to the ranks of the unemployed case load.

Getting back to the study though, the authors are making assumptions about why the outcomes are less than desirable thinking people need to “unlearn” what they learned in the sheltered workshop.  These studies are missing huge areas  – what about the support needs of the individuals?  Yes, they all have autism but we all know that there is a huge variation in how people are affected by autism.  The authors do state that the severity of a person’s behavior may play a role though.  That should have been at the very top of the study – without that information everything else is a moot point.

 

“Participating in sheltered workshops diminished the future outcomes achieved once individuals became competitively employed, perhaps because the skills and behaviors individuals learned in sheltered workshops had to be ‘unlearned’ in order for the workers to be successful in the community,” according to the research team that assessed the group with autism.

Other factors like the severity of an individual’s behavior challenges might also play a role, they said.

Supported Employment for people with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities

 

I recently participated in a webinar regarding transforming sheltered workshop situations to supported employment.  While I wholly support meaningful employment for all people I had a hard time getting past the judgmental attitude and biases of the presenters of this webinar.

There was much good information regarding difficulties with change, fundraising and gaining support for projects but I do not think that the presenters fully understand some issues of the families and people with intellectual disabilities.

Sheltered workshops are not what these presenters say they are.  They are not warehouses in which people sit and do piece work all day long.  The sheltered workshops that I have seen are actually quite enjoyable and when I have asked the employees if they like they jobs, their faces light up with pride, they happily show me what they are working on and for those who can speak, they answer in words or phrases that indicate their enjoyment of their work experience.

The presenters talked about roadblocks that people have to change.  One that they mentioned was “what are the people going to do during the day?” Supported employment may only be a few hours a week.  If supported employment is going to replace sheltered workshops, one needs to think about what will happen in those other hours.  These presenters did not want to think about those hours since it was not their program and did not seem to realize that if a person is taken out of the sheltered workshop environment and placed into a supported employment situation there would be a huge void in these people’s lives.

 

As with behavior modification techniques one needs to have a replacement behavior in place prior to removing the “offending” behavior.  I would think that in this situation, one would need to have replacement activities in place prior to removing hours of structured time.  This major issue does not seem to be a concern for those who advocate for supported employment.

One often hears about people “volunteering” prior to having a paying job.  What one doesn’t hear is that volunteering for a person who needs 1:1 support is much different than a person without support needs volunteering.  If a person receives 20 hours a month of support – that support is used for either “volunteer” or employment.  It’s not as if the person who needs support can volunteer and fill their time up that way.

What I think that people are missing is that many of these people with high support needs also need support for recreational activities and all activities of daily living.  When support is taken away for a great majority of the time that they had support, who will step in and provide that support?  If there is only money to provide for 20 hours of supported employment/volunteer time a month, where is the support going to come from for the majority of hours outside of the employment/volunteer time?

 

Many of the people who are employed in sheltered workshops need 1:1 support for many activities of daily living.  Many also need frequent interpersonal interaction to keep them focused or on task.  Many also need the support of others to manage their time which includes helping with recreation and other aspects of life which are not “employment.”

Recently I also attended a workshop regarding transitioning to adulthood for people with intellectual disabilities.  The issue of employment came up and a counselor from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) pointed out that when a person with an intellectual disability works they need to have opportunities outside of the job for social and recreational engagement.  This DVR counselor stated that many people with DD lose their jobs due to the fact that they have no other social outlets and start to use the job place for their recreation.

I’m afraid that with the limited hours that a person who has supported employment has with a “coach” puts great limits on the availability of supports for other aspects of the person’s life.  In a sheltered workshop situation, people are able to work in groups with support but do not necessarily need the 1:1 support which they would need in a supported employment situation.  Therefore, the funds for the support person can be spread out and shared with others.  This will enable more people to have employment and activities for more hours a week than if each person had their personal 1:1 supported employment “coach.”

The term “coach” is a little misleading also.  The people with intellectual disabilities who need this high level of support are not people who one would train to do a job, work with them for a set number of hours and then the employee will be trained and able to work independently.  These are people who will need 1:1 support for all hours of their employment for the length of time that they are employed.  This is a life-long disability and most of the people with this high of support need will always need this high of a support need.

I fully expect to hear from many who do not agree with my assessment of the situation.  I’d love to hear from you and hear how these issues that I raise can be overcome.

The issues of supported employment versus sheltered employment are very much like the issues of concern with a continuum of care.  We need to realize that the population of people with intellectual disabilities is heterogeneous.  We need to provide programs that benefit all – no matter what their abilities are.

 

 Below are some comments from people in the community:

 

As more residential centers close and DD centric programs are eliminated it is much easier for DSHS to deny services

The services our tax dollars buy must be used to meet the unique needs of individuals, not all of whom will find employment at Microsoft. Residential services, activity services, all services must fit the needs of individuals not the pipe dreams of DOJ lawyers and bureaucrats in DSHS and the county DD offices just keeping their paychecks, pensions, and power.

Since when are the consultants better at determining our kids futures than the parent/guardians and DSHS case managers, most of whom really do care

I’m right there with you, and having my son in a program that give me 3.5 hours a day for 5 days a week would be fantastic! He doesn’t care at all about getting paid, or about having some kind of employment that those well-intentioned folks you mentioned seem to prize so highly

DSHS has refused to let anyone else into the sheltered program for several years turning away a number of families.  A few KAT clients have found jobs, some moved out of the area and a couple have died.

The reimbursement is not the point, safety and having a purpose are more important

Most of the clients work about a 16 hours a week, 5 days 3.5 hours each day, each has a pathway to independent employment plan, realistic or not.  The Boeing contract provides almost as much as DSHS and allows every Kitsap Applied Technology employee to receive a paycheck each month based on a piece rate, our son’s pay isn’t much but it is better than sitting at home watching Muppet videos.

I am sick and tired of explaining these needs to the well intentioned, altruistic folks who have no special needs kids or have kids that are performing in top 10% of the DD population.

 

 

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.