Monday, September 21, 2015

Washington State: Political climate change brings hope to families of DD

This is from the Early Fall Newsletter 2015 of the Friends of Fircrest. Fircrest is a Washington State Residential Habilitation Center (RHC) that provides support to about 200 people with developmental disabilities in a residential setting. This comes by way of the blog Because We Care - Beyond Inclusion

Apparently Washington State has politicians who can not only read, but understand what they read, at least when it comes to the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead Decision.


From Friends of Fircrest — Early Fall Newsletter 2015

Message from FoF President, Jim Hardman

Dear Friends of Fircrest,

A bit about climate change. The political climate. Like the earth’s climate, the changes are slow enough that big changes can occur before we are completely aware that things are different.

We who advocate for service and home choices that include Residential Habilitation Centers have been kicked around so much, abuse feels natural and is expected. That was then, this is now.

Now we have political support from the governor and most legislators. The Secretary of DSHS [Washington Dept. of Social and Health Services] is supportive. I have felt it in the atmosphere at Fircrest and Rainier. Professional staff are smiling, care staff are cheerful, and this is good for residents.

We’ve been conditioned to expect bad news and opposition from off campus DSHS administration. We need to reassess that conditioning. RHCs surely still have detractors in the bureaucracy. But they no longer rule the roost.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that the auditor refused to read the Olmstead case and simply adopted the Justice Dept. misinterpretation of it? Governor Inslee is a lawyer who can read a case and we are better off for it. DSHS Sec. Quigley can read a case as well, and we are better off.

It’s time to regard our political leadership as friends of people with severe disabilities who understand the importance of RHCs and the safety net they are. In this, we are all friends.

Kumbaya maybe, not nirvana. There are and there will continue to be problems. But the problem solving process is changed. It’s the climate.

All human endeavors encounter problems and there will be differences of opinions. But we friends acknowledge a common goal and best efforts in serving, protecting, and enhancing lives of those with profound disabilities.

That’ s the word today.

J.R. Hardman J.D., CPG
pres. Friends of Fircrest

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