Sunday, August 12, 2007

Licensing Reports for Michigan Group Homes

One source for information about group homes is an Adult Foster Care website that provides routine licensing reports and special investigations for every group home licensed by the state. Click here for the AFC website to search group homes by county.

Publicly-funded group home placements are generally done through local community mental health agencies using the person-centered planning process required by state law. If you are seeking a group home placement for a family member, you should start by contacting your local CMH. The above website will give you basic information about each licensed home in your area, including who operates the home, how many people live there, and whether it is a home for people with developmental disabilities or mental illness, or for seniors. It includes routine licensing reports which tell you if the home has passed licensing inspections and any problems detected.

Also listed are special investigation reports which occur when an allegation has been made of a serious incident at the home. Some of these incidents are pretty shocking, but you need to read the reports carefully to find out whether the allegations have been supported by the evidence. Unfortunately, there are many serious incidents that hold up under the scrutiny of licensing investigations. When an incident occurs, the group home reports back to licensing with a statement of how it will correct the problem. These reports can be obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request - the website tells you how to ask for these reports.

This web site does not report on every incident that has occurred at a home, but only on the most serious incidents. Other incidents are often investigated by the local CMH recipient rights office.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Equipment Exchange

More information from the AACIL, eNews for Youth:

Free Website for Exchanging Tech and Tools

Introducing a free, Michigan-based, classified-ad website to help people with disabilities get the tools they need: Find what you need; sell or donate what you don’t. Assistive technology includes everything from walkers, reachers, grab bars, and hospital beds, to power scooters, custom vans, Braille machines, and software that reads computer screens out-loud. This free, easy-to-use website is designed to help people exchange both low- and high-tech assistive technology.

For more information contact the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition at (800) 760-4600 or

eNews for Youth from the AA Center for Independent Living

The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living publishes an email newsletter, eNews for Youth, listing recreational and fun events for people of varying abilities and their families. To receive the newsletter, contact:

Anna Dusbiber
Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living
2568 Packard Rd. (in the Georgetown Mall), Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 971-0277 x17

Here are a few of the events listed for August:

The first annual Great Lakes Independence Ride or I-Ride: Thursday, August 16 through Sunday, August 19.

Riders can participate for one day, two days, four days, just for the last few miles of each day or the last miles on Sunday. Departing from Holland that Thursday, riders will head north along the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan, before turning west toward Grand Rapids. The I-Ride will make brief ceremonial and celebratory stops in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Jackson, finishing with a flourish in Ann Arbor.

To join in the final mile or the after-party come to Gallup Park, 2970 Fuller Rd, near the corner of Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor at 3 pm that Sunday. We’ll be in the larger shelter at the rear of the park near the playground. This is a free family event open to everyone! The party ends at 6 pm.

Contact the I-Ride coordinator at (734) 971-0277 x49 or or go to the website Check the website to find out about registration fees and fund-raising goals for I-Ride participants. All participants must register, even if they do not pay.

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival and Mentoring

The Washtenaw Youth Mentoring Coalition and the Ann Arbor CIL will have a table at the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Friday, August 17 through Sunday, August 19. Meet us at the booth (look for the Coalition’s blue banner) at noon that Saturday for a group exploration of the festival, including the youth games until 2 pm. The festival takes place in Depot Town, Frog Island Park and surrounding areas.

The Coalition will have a decoy duck in the non-profit duck race during the festival. Help us decorate the duck from noon to 3 pm on Friday, August 10 in the art room at the Ann Arbor CIL, 2568 Packard Rd, Ann Arbor. The office is located at the back of the Georgetown Mall. The duck race takes place at the festival’s dock stage at 3:30 pm on Sunday, August 19.

Want to volunteer to staff the booth? Need more information about these events? Contact Jen Chapin-Smith at or (734) 971-0277 x23.

Weekly Group Cycling Rides

The Ann Arbor CIL invites people of all ages and abilities to join us for a weekly ride using bicycles, handcycles and tricycles. The rides continue this summer on Wednesdays from the Ann Arbor CIL, 2568 Packard Rd, Ann Arbor, behind the Georgetown Mall. Arrive before 6:30 pm, when the cyclists leave the parking lot! Participants must RSVP ahead of time!

Bring your own cycle or use one of ours. If you need to borrow a cycle, reserve it ahead of time by contacting Mary Stack at (734) 971-0277 x56 or She can also answer your questions. Helmets are required.

Back To School Block Party Aug. 24 in Ypsi

Noise Permit, the Back to School Block Party, will take place Friday, August 24 (rain date, Tuesday, August 28) from 3 to 10 pm at Frog Island Park in Ypsilanti. Free food and entertainment by local youth bands and rappers will be available. Ozone House, Teens Center without Walls and Washtenaw Area Teens for Tomorrow are sponsoring this event, thanks to a grant from Ypsilanti Youth Empowered to Act. Special thanks go to the City of Ypsilanti. Last year 300 youth attended this free event!

For more information, contact Catheryn Malczynski of the Teen Center Without Walls at (734) 973-4384 or check out their website and WATT’s website

Monday, August 6, 2007

Low-tech treatment for drug resistant staph infections

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA can be a serious and even fatal infection. Many people with severe developmental disabilities are at risk for acquiring the infection.

MRSA was first identified as an infection spread in
hospitals, but it began showing up in the 1990's in the wider community. People who are at risk for MRSA are those who have recently been hospitalized, residents of long-term care facilities, people with weakened immune systems, and those who use invasive devices such as catheters or feeding tubes.

One of the first signs of the infection are small red bumps on the skin that
resemble small pimples or spider bites. There are treaments for MRSA, including the anti-biotic Vancomycin, and much that can be done in hospitals and other facilities to prevent its spread. But according to the June 9th, 2007 issue of Science News, ("Sticky treatment for staph infections"), honey made by bees pollinating a New Zealand bush offers a potential new therapy. Rose Cooper of the University of Wales Institute at Cardiff found that the staph cells that became stuck in the manuka honey stop dividing.

Sterile manuka honey has been available by prescription in the United Kingdom since 2004 to treat MRSA. A new study is
underway with the hope that the honey will play a key role in controlling the infection.

For more information on MRSA, check out the Mayo Clinic website.
Especially important for families of people with deveopmental disabilities are the recommendations for preventing the spread of MRSA in hospitals and other facilities.