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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Missing Link

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

There are many reasons to oppose closure of Missouri Habilitation Centers proposed by Senate bill-SB56.

One reason is the first-rate staff working there. Habilitation center residents know their caregiver by the touch of a hand or the sound of a voice. Most of these residents have had the same caregivers for many years, irreplaceable, as much family as guardians are. They are our ears, our voice, our hands, and our hearts. That's why as a mother, I rest easier knowing my son receives care from these professionals.

We found the "missing link" in my son's care when we found SEMORS Habilitation Center, Poplar Bluff. We tried other community care homes, but never found the loving care that my son receives now. Many residents who have known no other home will see their death hastened when they are forced from their habilitation center.Passing SB56 is like pulling the plug on the Life Support needed by these residents, even as family and legal guardians loudly object.

Habilitation centers also have a significant impact on the economy.They employ hundreds of people who pay taxes. They support area businesses, like gas stations, grocers, banks, restaurants and retail stores.Many of these centers are in small communities. If a habilitation center closes, the local economy suffers. Our unemployment rate grows higher, and fabric of our community deteriorates further.

SB56 hurts our loved ones, the staff who care for them, and the local economy. Is there anyone on whom this bill will not have a tragic effect?

Submitted by,

Joyce Dixon - Parent/Guardian and

President of Semors Poplar Bluff-Sikeston Habilitation Centers

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I appreciate that Mrs. Dixon has had a positive experience, however, most do not. There are thousands of examples of people being mistreated and even dying at the hands of their caregivers in institutional settings. Anyone who has visited or knows someone who has worked there can attest to the horrible conditions and attitudes of MOST of the staff.

It is unthinkable in this day and age that we proud Missourians would take our most vulnerable citizens and treat them this way. The state of Missouri has been cited as recently as 2 years ago from the Department of Justice Civil Rights division for violating the rights of the residents.

The money that is being wasted on the antiquated belief that "they like it there", can be used to let these individuals live in their own communities with all the proper supports.

By segregating this population, the door remains open for continued abuse, neglect, and death at the hands of the state and its poorly paid hab center staffers.

L P Opinsky

Parent to a child with a disability (whom we would never dream of having placed in an institution)

-- Posted by lpop1234 on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 2:09 PM

I appreciated Ms. Dixon's article, and with a family member in a state facility, I can whole heartedly agree with her opinion that the state habilitation centers are needed. I'm not sure what locations generated the other comment from lpop1234, but my brother receives the best care for his capabilities and the staff is always positive and supportive. I have researched this topic with a lot of interest, and I find that there have been a lot of abuse cases in community settings as well, due to lack of oversight that is needed.

I know we could fill volumes with "he said, she said." I think the answer is for the parents and family members to come together to ensure that their loved ones receive the care that is appropriate for the individual. Whether it be the state center or private center, and not allow the professional bureaucrats, or state funded councils try to tell us that they are the ones who know best. I have found their claims to be misleading on the answers they propose.

If all of us who have loved ones with developmental disabilities could support each other, and not allow these other groups to segregate us into being on opposite sides, then we can accomplish what is needed for each of our family members according to their need, and not accept this "one size fits all" mentality. If I trust that you know what is best for your family member, and you trust that I know what is best for mine, then we can support each other to ensure that we receive a solution that truly meets the needs of each of our loved ones.

-- Posted by Jsaw on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 11:20 PM

I am the parent of child who resides at SEMORS. It was a difficult decision when we had to make this choice, but it has been miraculous the accomplishments they have performed with our son. He has severe disabilities and the setting at SEMORS is the correct setting for him due to his complicated medical and physical condition along with the continuous care and supervision he receives. The staff has always presented a caring and professional manner with our son, so I have to agree with Mrs. Dixon.

It is evident that he is well cared for and does enjoy living amongst his peers. While he enjoys it when we pick him up for visits, it is obvious he is always glad to get back to what he considers his home, as you can't keep up with when he is headed toward the door to his home. And he is always greeted with smiles by the staff and other residents that are his friends.

I believe the comments by Jsaw hit at the heart of the matter. If some individuals can progress better in a private community setting then that option should be open, but not at the cost of closing down state habilitation centers that work for other individuals.

If the conditions do exist at any state habilitation center per the comments of lpop1234, then the head of the state's mental health dept. should be held accountable, but all I hear from that office and MO Planning Council is that they just want to go to privatization, because that seems to be the latest fad amongst other states. They claim it will save money, but from what I've seen it is only cost shifting and not saving. To use an old sport's metaphors, should a baseball team not perform you don't dissolve the team, you get rid of the head person, but as I've already mentioned, SEMORS does work for our son.

I would love to begin a dialogue between the families needing the state habilitation centers and the ones needing the private community centers, so that we can work together to ensure that there is good legislation protecting all our loved ones, and that other state officials are not just making decisions because it is what they want to do.

We as family, are the ones who know what works and is best for our family members, so let's work together to bring about the best solution, and that means that there are choices and options.

-- Posted by dbarnes on Sun, Mar 20, 2011, at 9:44 AM

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