By Harry Yost
November 6, 2006
If history is any guide, the state's intention with regard to the future of Maryland's four residential centers for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities is crystal clear. Closed admissions, a steady stream of transfers, aging residents and understaffing have led to ever-decreasing populations at the residential centers. Even S. Anthony McCann, the secretary of the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said at a recent political forum that Maryland law and the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision require the closing of all such institutions.
On the legal side of this issue, however, families know better, and apparently so does Mr. McCann's boss. In September, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said that Olmstead "did not dictate the closing of institutions. ... For a relatively few, the institution may be the appropriate place and the least-restrictive setting."
by Sybil Finken, VOR First Vice President
August 2, 2008
Des Moines Register
I am the mother of four children.
Son Zach lives near Chicago where he is the Executive News Editor of the Chicago Sun Times. Son Luke lives in Colorado where, following in his parents' footsteps, he is an educator.
My youngest, Carmen, will be a junior in high school this fall. She is an honor student, involved in many school and community activities. Carmen is well poised for a very bright future.
Son Seth’s achievements are also remarkable. We’ve nurtured Seth and continue to provide all we can to ensure his continued happiness. Seth is severely disabled. He suffered meningitis when he was 7 months old. Seth is deaf, blind, has profound mental retardation, is wheelchair bound, and has a seizure disorder. His home is Glenwood Resource Center (GRC.)
No one ever questions our decisions on behalf of Zach, Luke and Carmen. My husband Russ and I are not shy about taking some credit for the amazing people they have become. Yet, we are increasingly challenged about our care choices for Seth, especially in light of recent news stories about care at Glenwood.
As part of the new Obama Administration's transition efforts, in January 2009, VOR submitted its Policy Recommendations in support of a full array of residential and support options for people with intellectual disabilities (formerly "mental retardation") and developmental disabilities.