Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Waiting Lists for developmentally disabled

Click here to see a You Tube video called "Disabilities Don't Wait" from Noewait ( National Organization to End the Waitlists). In Michigan we don't have Waiting Lists. We have Priority Lists. Does that make you feel better?

Monday, June 21, 2010

WCHO Town Hall Meeting: June 29th, 2010

Join the Washtenaw Community Health Organization (WCHO) and Community Supports and Treatment Services (CSTS) in a fun and informative evening.

Share your thoughts and ideas on the Community Mental Health System in Washtenaw County and hear what others have to say.

2010 Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Washtenaw County Human Services
555 Towner, Ypsilanti MI 48197
In the Large Conference Room

Spaghetti Dinner provided by Full Circle Drop In Center and Dessert provided by Fresh Start Clubhouse

All are Welcome! No reservations necessary!

For more information, contact Customer Service at (734) 544-3050 or (877) 779-9707

Monday, June 14, 2010

Large caseloads for Michigan group home monitors

According to the Summer 2010 issue of Exchange, a publication of Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, there are fewer employees of the state Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing monitoring group homes. Adult Foster Care (AFC) group homes provide housing and services to people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and to people who are elderly.

In the article "Concerns Regarding Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing", Brian Sabourin provides information on cutbacks to licensing that directly affect monitoring of group homes intended to assure safety and appropriate care of residents:

"In 2002, before massive state employee retirements, there were 80 Adult Foster Care (AFC) licensing consultants with an average caseload of 55 facilities per consultant. In 2008, there were only 49 licensing consultants experiencing double the aforementioned caseload. This comprises the division's ability to regulate the almost 4,800 adult foster care homes."

In 2009, with this staff of 49 people, licensing handled over 2,000 complaint investigations, over 2,000 licensing renewals, and 374 inspections for new licenses. This was in addition to monitoring critical components of care such as staff training, qualification, and background checks, administrative capability, resident care, and resident rights.

It is hard to believe that such large caseloads are not affecting resident care or that residents are not being harmed as a result.

(The Summer 2010 issue of Exchange is not yet available on the MPAS Web site under publications, but should be soon.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Florida parents plan communities for developmentally disabled

In Florida, there are more than 18,000 developmentally disabled people waiting for services and residential placements. That translates to a 10 -15 year wait for most people. Parents have taken this dilemma into their own hands and have begun developing planned communities for their family members. Noah's Ark of Central Florida has plans to create communities modeled on retirement communities that are home to seniors all over the country.

The communities will include families and caregivers of their primary residents, people with developmental disabilities. They will be a blend of apartments, villas, group homes, and single-family homes with spaces for socializing, recreation, and vocational and educational activities. One village, Noah's Nest, has three homes near downtown Lakeland, Florida.

One obstacle the parents faced was a state law that prevented group homes from being established within 1,000 feet of each other, so they lobbied the Florida legislature to change the law. According to an article in the Miami Herald, April 27, 2010, they were opposed by advocates who claimed that the planned communities are institutions that segregate people from the rest of society:

"In our society, we call places like this institutions," said Kingsley Ross, who represents Sunrise community, a nonprofit organization catering to the developmentally disabled and the elderly. "People with developmental disabilities have to be in contact with good models of behavior. If you surround them with people that don't have normal types of behavior, what we are going to see is more people with bad behavior."

[Kingsley Ross, who worries so much about other people's behavior, is a registered lobbyist for the Autism Society of Florida and Sunrise Community, Inc., a non-profit provider of group homes and other services for people with disabilities and seniors.]

The family members, however, have a different view . Many of their loved-ones have already experienced "community living" and have found it to be isolating, not fulfilling, and even dangerous. Families are not trying to compete with options that work well for many people with disabilities, but to offer more options and choice based on the needs and preferences of their loved ones.

The law to rescind the restriction on group homes was passed and signed by Governor Crist on June 3rd, 2010. Well done, Florida parents!

[See also: Michigan group homes for severely disabled]