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Shameful relics

Houston Chronicle  June 16, 2009

Shameful relics

Regarding “Perry signs state schools bill; Law overhauls system, which has seen neglect, abuse and deaths” (Page B1, Friday), a basic understanding of civil rights leads to the conclusion that state schools warehousing people with developmental disabilities throughout Texas have outlasted their questionable utility; they are a shameful relic of failed public policy and outdated attitudes toward people with disabilities. Even with newly signed legislation to improve conditions, the conditions of the institutions will remain deplorable and will continue to be a glaring example of badly spent money. The facts remain. Institutions warehousing people with disabilities, in Texas and across the country, are the focus of failed inspections, horrendous findings letters that detail substandard care, class action lawsuits and decertifications. There are many other existing and proposed initiatives that support deinstitutionalization, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New Freedom Initiatives, Olmstead Plans, The Lifespan Respite Care Act, Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism Act, Pathways to Independence Act and the Family and Workplace Balancing Act, to name a few. The institutional bias is not reflective of American attitudes; people want to stay in their homes and communities, regardless of disability at any age. Lobbyists for unions and facility-based care have for years drowned out mainstream America. – Robert Stack, Community Options Inc., Dallas
Houston Chronicle article .pdf