Governor Inslee has recognized the great need for our citizens with intellectual disabilities. Those of us who support a continuum of care, including the Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC), are greatly appreciative of the Governor’s understanding of the crisis and the need to support our most vulnerable citizens.
Currently there is a waiting list for youth and young adults to enter the RHCs in our state. There are calls made frequently from the hospitals, looking for placements for these youth. Finding no resources, the families continue in crisis mode, using a revolving door in and out of the hospital. This is not a solution for anyone!
I am assuming that someone from the hospital administration or some families in crisis have alerted Governor Inlsee about these waiting lists. I’m sure some of them are on the “no paid services” caseload too. This is not an “us versus them” issue as The Arc portrays it but an issue that we are all in together. Why is that so hard for so many Arc followers to understand. We want what is best for each person, no matter what their support needs are but also recognize that people have choices and there are cost constraints to our communities and state.
Why would we not utilize a cost effective community such as the RHC which actually does serve many needs of many people? The Arc and others have not been able to prove that the costs for independent living would be less and the people would be safe and continue to receive life sustaining services if we consolidated the RHCs as they propose. They have not shown where the services, which are included in the RHC package will be met nor how they will be paid for. They have not shown how those who need 1:1 or 2:1 assistance will be able to be transported to frequent medical, dental or therapy appointments or how they will have the daily nursing care required to maintain their health or access for changes. They have not indicated there will be adequate oversight or staff that is adequately trained to manage severe behavior or mental health issues.
Without looking at the whole picture, they cannot assume that these vulnerable people will be safe.
The track record actually proves the opposite – negligence and death have been too frequently reported for anyone to assume The Arc is aware of the dangers they will impose on the lives of those who are forced from their homes. Again, this is not an “us” or “them” situation but a situation that we all must think of as a whole. Why are we allowing an advocacy group to dictate what may be best for the good of the whole? They are clearly misleading people by not looking at the reality of the situation and only the tip of the iceberg.
I would like to urge The Arc of Washington to take a lead from progressive chapters of the Arc. For instance, The ARC Jacksonville has been looking at intentional neighborhoods and has successfully gained funding with housing tax credits, state funds and private funds to begin groundbreaking for The ARC Village project in the spring of 2014. What a great effort in working together. I would love to see our state emulate this cooperative advocacy.
While I support much of what The Arc advocates for I cannot support The Arc with the intentional efforts to hurt people. These intentional actions which push harm to our most vulnerable citizens is immoral and unethical. Until The ARC can work with all advocates in the continuum and realize that we are all in this together for the good of all, I’m afraid our citizens will continue in a state of crisis. I, for one, would like to see the crisis subside not increase but I know that with the “us” versus “them” method, this will never happen.
Please for the sake of the whole and for an easing of the crisis, let’s take a lead from The ARC Jacksonville and look at new alternatives which may provide stability while providing safe, affordable care for our loved ones.