Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Holly Center closure chilling

By Mary Reese, VOR Board Member
August 25, 2104
The Daily Times (Salisbury, MD)

The Holly Center administration recently announced the closure of another of its residential cottages. After this closure, there will only be 4 of the original 9 cottages in service; the current census is well under half of its original capacity. Holly Center is a federally regulated facility operated by the state of Maryland to serve those with intellectual and / or developmental disabilities (IDD).

I am the legal guardian of a 70 year old woman, Ginger, with profound IDD who requires 24/7 total care and is medically fragile. Ginger has lived in a facility based setting and in a group home setting; we have experienced both. The group home, or community residential program, was inadequate to meet her complex needs. The state only allowed Ginger’s admission to Holly Center after she suffered serious injury at the result of the group home staffs’ neglect.

Read full letter to editor

National Disability Advocate Visits Misericordia, Premier Caregiver for People with Developmental Disabilities

For Immediate Release - August 25, 2104
For More Information - Julie Huso, Executive Director, 605-370-4652 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
CHICAGO - Julie Huso, Executive Director of VOR, a national, nonprofit organization advocating for high quality care and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traveled to the Chicago-area to meet with representatives of Misericordia.

Located in Chicago, Misericordia is home to more than 600 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, offering those in their care a community of support and opportunities.

“Misericordia is home, in every sense of that word, to the individuals who live there,” Huso said. “It is a special place.”

Delaware: Repurposing Stockley

The News Journal * October 16, 2013

Summary: State Report recommends opening access to Delaware's Stockley Center: Report proposes ways to expand public use of state-run complex

The Stockley Center, an underutilized state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities, also should be a medical training center, a public nature preserve, a community center and possibly the keystone of a mixed-use development, the state's health secretary said Tuesday in summarizing a years-long effort to re-imagine the complex.

"We do see this as one of Delaware's gems," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, at a conference on public health. "What can we do to enable the public to have access and see this gem?"

The 750-acre facility, just outside Millsboro near Sussex Central High School, is one of the largest parcels of state-owned land in Delaware outside of its state parks.

In 2009, there were 84 adults at Stockley; today, there are 61 full-time residents getting intensive care, with some more residents in a group home on the property, said executive director Adele Wemlinger.

Read more

Read the Report and Recommendations of the Stockley Initiative Task Force

New Jersey Survey on Residential Choice

VOR's Past President, the late-Robin Sims, held a press conference in her state capitol to announce the results of a residential survey that she helped spearhead. The survey was simple. It was sent to family members and guardians of New Jersey State Developmental Center residents. The survey asked recipients if they were happy with the current placement of their loved ones, or would prefer community-based care instead. The results were overwhelmingly (96%) in support of continued ICFs/MR placement. The press conference at the state capitol was an effort to reach lawmakers and the press with these statistics, and point out the serious flaws of earlier state surveys and studies that have been used to justify downsizing and closure proposals. In coalition with many families, Robin fought fire with fire, developing a survey for families and guardians that asked just one simple, unbiased question.

A Press Release was issued and The Star Ledger featured the event and survey.

Videos from the press conference are also available: http://vimeo.com/8177809 (Sims, intro), http://vimeo.com/8057837 (Sims, extended), http://vimeo.com/8059191 (Rocco Mazza, sibling), http://vimeo.com/8177135 (Assemblywoman Huttle on Choice), and http://vimeo.com/8177251 (NJ State Senator Bucco on Choice).

Health Care: What's Really in it for People with Disabilities

Commentary (Excerpts)
by Ethan B. Ellis, President, Next Step
August 26, 2009
Congressman Frank Pallone, unruffled and cool, managed to turn the provocative questions and comments [at a recent “Town Hall” meeting] into opportunities to provide real, substantive information about the bill he supports and the legislative alternatives being considered in the Senate. Despite the din, I learned more in an hour than I had in months of sorting through news and opinion on TV and online. I even got in a question that filled in some of the blanks.  Here’s how H.R. 3200 will affect people with disabilities: