Where is the community support?

Our state (Washington) is really doing a horrible job of taking care or our most needy  citizens.  Even though it is written in our constitution to foster and support care, the care has been denied through legislation.  I wonder if our legislators and so-called advocates have read the  Washington State Constitution, specifically Article XIII.  If not, now may bee a good time to read and understand.

With the recent unanimous Washington Supreme Court ruling regarding “boarding” of mental health patients in hospital emergency room as unlawful I hope that the lack of care for our citizens with intellectual disabilities will also be scrutinized by our courts.

The legislature has continued to reduce care and supports for the people who are most in need.  We have heard that closing and down-sizing facilities which specialize in caring for people with high support needs will save our state money – but does it? Even it it did save money, which is highly doubtful when looking at the budget as a whole, was it the ethical and moral decision to make?  Was it ethical and moral to deny people safe and skilled care they need to survive?

We are currently in a horrible crisis – not necessarily due to lack of space but due to lack of support by our legislature.  These services are controlled by our legislature and because of bad and poorly thought out decisions, critical services have closed and there has been no replacement or alternative.  People and families are being destroyed due to these decisions while residential buildings sit empty because they are not funded to provide caregivers for people in crisis.

For instance, we had one Intermediate Care Facility for people with Intellectual Disabilities which served over 60 people and also managed to provide crisis respite for children and adults.  Frances Haddon Morgan Center closed with promises of more community options.  Where are these options?  They have not materialized at all.   Was this a wise decision?  Not in my opinion and in the opinion of many others.

Currently we have many people in crisis asking for residential care and again, even though they see beautiful, remodeled homes on campus settings with trained, stable staff and supports, they are forbidden to access this care.

I would like to see every legislator take a tour of Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center in Shoreline, take a look at the empty duplex on this beautiful campus then listen to the stories of people in our community in crisis who have requested respite and admission and have been told “no – we have no space.”  After this experience, I would then like to hear your recommendation to the other legislators on what we should do to minimize the crisis to our families and support our communities.


NO Safety Net? It’s a possibility unless we make our voices heard!

We need a supportive coalition to prevent future cuts to our most vulnerable citizens. Our Governor and legislators need to hear from us, the people. We are the ones living the experience of crisis after crisis with a bare bones safety net. What happens when there is NO safety net?

Please uphold our 1999 US Supreme Court Decision Olmstead and the US DD Act by supporting a continuum of care service model. You can sign this petition to pass the message on to our Governor, Governor-to-be and legislators. We need to uphold our own State Constitution, Article 13 which states institutions need to be fostered and supported by the state.

The citizens of our state did win a major battle in the McCleary v State lawsuit.  This looks at the same part of the Washington State Constitution which we look at for care of our most vulnerable who need the high intense supports provided at our Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs) to maintain their health and safety.  The issue is that there was a lawsuit to provide funding for education and there has not been a lawsuit against our state to “foster and support” the care of those in the RHC.  (I’m not advocating for a lawsuit – only for our State to do what is right and just and as is outlined in our Constitution)

Our state has no new revenue sources to fund the education which needs to be provided.  Without a source of revenue – what do you think will happen?  My guess is that our legislators and Governor will again look at our most vulnerable and again pull away their life sustaining support.  We can not let this happen.  We need to find other places which have at least a morsel of meat on the bones or provide a revenue source.