Thursday, August 20, 2009

Parents Protest Privatization of Group Homes

Staff turnover can be extremely difficult on people with developmental disabilities and their families. Starting from scratch and establishing trust takes time. Surprised we haven't heard more of this going on. Unfortunately, it probably is just the beginning of things to come.

TRUMBULL, Conn. -- Since 1997, Marge Keane's stepson, Brian, has lived at a state-run group home for people with developmental disabilities. Time was, she said, when the 47-year-old's behavioral issues meant that he often had to be restrained.
But with the same staff of caregivers regularly on duty at the home, that's no longer the case, Keane said. She fears, however, that her stepson's behavior will regress when the group home's management is turned over to a private firm.
According to Joan C. Barnish, a spokesman for the state Department of Developmental Services, 17 state-run group homes will be turned over to private management because of the recent retirement-incentive program offered to state employees. She said 395 DDS employees took advantage of the program and of that number, 162 workers provided direct support and service in group homes. Those 162 jobs will not be permanently filled, Barnish said, so the department feels the privatization is the best option to provide care.

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