Below is what ARC has put out to their membership, today (excerpted.) This is really a shame. We should not be in the position of defending critical resources for people who already have been failed by the "community." Neither should "community" residents who genuinely do not have services be in the position they are. We should be working together to find solutions to everyone's needs. Once we have defeated this legislation, we can work to make common cause.
Please keep your personal stories coming, now to the Senate Ways & Means Committee with cc to your senator and the governor. You are doing a great job!
ARC LEADERSHIP IS FAILING TO RECOGNIZE OR ADMIT:
1. SSB-6780 would not provide equivalent services,"best interest" services, to current RHC residents. It would cause real harm to real people.
2. CURRENT RHC RESIDENTS ARE THERE BECAUSE THEY WERE ALREADY FAILED BY THE COMMUNITY.
Please make that clear when you write your loved ones' experience to Ways and Means committee members and your Senator with cc to the governor.
3. RHCs are a resource that serves community residents, enabling them to succeed there: Respite & crisis stabilization, currently. RHCs could be of more use to the "community" by providing RHC based professional services to "community" residents.
If you are willing, you can also send a copy of your letter or your story to me, Saskia,
Legislators can be encouraged, later, if the bill survives Ways and Means, to visit the blog for a collection of the experiences.
People working in RHCs or SOLAs, who believe in keeping RHCs open, may also help by writing personal experiences that demonstrate their value.
If you are a community parent who wants RHCs to be in place on the day that your loved one needs them, please write, now, to Ways & Means committee members. In addition, you might take the opportunity to say what is lacking about the community system. Comments about Quality Assurance or the lack of it would help them understand. Also, if you are willing, the same input would be welcome on ddexchange.blogspot.com. You can either email me at the above address, or submit your story in a dialogue box below.
See the the ActionDD response to SS - 6780, posted yesterday. As you write, you may want to source it, or even attach it.
Thanks and more thanks! We are all in this together!
Here, excerpted, is what ARC is telling their members, many of whom do not realize how much RHCs have changed or how important they are. See below ARC for this writer's close.
ARC's notice to membership (excerpted):
Have you or a loved one lived in a state institution?
Legislators want YOUR story of how community works!
There are about 18,000 individuals with developmental disabilities who live in the community on the DD caseload, yet have no paid services to help them. There are about 970 people in five Residential Habilitation Centers (what we call our state institutions). In Washington State, 21% of the Developmental Disabilities budget is used to support 3% of the DD caseload in the RHCs.
Advocates who wish to keep all five of our RHCs open and continue to use them are writing compelling personal stories to legislators telling them that their loved ones can't possibly live in the community, that the RHCs are the only place for individuals with significant disabilities. We know this is not true. Many individuals with more significant medical needs and disabilities are living fulfilling lives in the community.
If you once lived in an RHC or have a loved one who did who now lives in the community we would like you to share your personal story. You can respond to this alert and share your life in the community with all legislators and the Governor. You can also choose to send it to various news outlets. Let them know why living in the community is better than when you or your loved one lived in the RHC. Let them know your challenges and how you work around them.
We would like you to also share your story with us. You can reply to this email with your story and we will compile them and personally share them with legislators and their staff.
If their numbers are true, even if they aren't, it is, indeed, disturbing to see people needing what is not available to them. What ARC does not understand or admit is that closing the RHCs will not liberate money for those people they refer to. It would only deprive displaced RHC residents of the care and services they require.
What are your thoughts on the matter?