Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Jersey: Autistic man brought "home" from PA; ends up in jail with no other options

This is from the VOR Weekly News Update for 10/10/14:

Tyler Loftus, 23, has been sitting in New Jersey’s Hunterdon County Jail since September 18. “Every day he calls and says, ‘Mom, come get me, I don’t want to stay here,'” his mother, Rita O’Grady, told me.

Diagnosed with autism and intellectual disability, Tyler has the cognitive capacity of a 5-year-old. He can’t understand why he’s not allowed to leave.

“I never consented to this placement,” O’Grady said. “I specifically withdrew consent, because I knew what would happen. But the Arc [the agency that operated the group home] moved him anyway.”

And there are facilities that specialize in the treatment of individuals with developmental delay and dangerous behaviors: the Woods School in Pennsylvania, for instance, where Tyler lived from the ages of 15 to 21. Closer to home there are state-run developmental centers, such as the one in Hunterdon, where Tyler has previously been admitted.

But these are no longer options. Governor Chris Christie’s Return Home New Jersey program has put a moratorium on all out-of-state placements and “Christie is closing [developmental centers],” O’Grady told me. “And he’s put a stop order on all new admissions. Ideally, Tyler would be at Hunterdon while a permanent placement is found, but they can’t take him.”

The problem, O’Grady explained, is that the community-based supports that Christie promised have not yet materialized...

Read the full article here : "No End in Sight for Autistic Man Jailed in New Jersey" by Amy Lutz, 10/3/14.

Here is an updated article about the case: "Christie plan to return disabled to N.J. leads one man to hospitals, jail" by Susan Livio, 10/10/14 at .

VOR is a national organization that advocates for the right of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to choose from a full array of high quality residential and other support options including own home, community-based, and large settings such as Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs/IDD). See also VOR Weekly News Updates and Olmstead Resources.

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