Monday, July 19, 2010

Thousands Leave, Others Languish at State Facility, Lawsuit Claims

Resident "J" first came to the Wassaic State School in 1947 at the age of 6. Resident "L" was placed in the sprawling state institution in 1940 at the age of 3.
Decades came and went, and Wassaic's thousands were sent to live in more humane and healthy group homes in the community. But J and L, as well as others identified in legal papers only by a capital letter, stayed at what came to be called the Wassaic campus of the Taconic Developmental Disabilities Service Office.
The story of these residents, told in a lawsuit filed in December 2008, is part of an alleged "pattern and practice ... of needlessly segregating individuals with mental retardation in public institutions, rather than placing them in more integrated community settings."
Thirteen people at Wassaic "languished," the lawsuit claimed, while the state repeatedly said it was making plans, but failed, to place them in community care.

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