Advocacy Center Applauds Plan to Promote Inclusion for People with Disabilities
2010 Budget for the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Calls for Closure/Downsizing of Developmental Centers
New Orleans, LA, February 12, 2010 –
Governor Jindal’s budget for Fiscal Year 2011 reflects the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities’ plan to close Northeast Supports and Services Center (NESSC) in Ruston, LA and to significantly reduce the population of other large institutions for people with developmental disabilities. Such centers include Pinecrest Supports and Services Center (Pineville), Northwest Supports and Services Center (Shreveport) and North Lake Supports and Services Center (Hammond). The Advocacy Center supports these budget recommendations.
In June 2009, the Advocacy Center released Beyond Repair: An Investigation Into Serious Abuse and Neglect at Northeast Supports and Service Center (http://www.advocacyla.org/publications/NESSCFinalReport6909.pdf). This report was based on a 14-month investigation into seven incidents of death or serious injury to residents of NESSC. Featured in the Advocacy Center’s report was an individual who died while being restrained by staff and another who received no medical care for a spiral fracture to the femur for at least four days. In this report, the Advocacy Center recommended that the state close NESSC.
Abuses at institutions across Louisiana are widespread and continuing. The Advocacy Center is currently investigating two additional incidents of serious abuse; and just one year ago, the state completed its own investigation into abuse at Pinecrest Supports and Services Center. (See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/news.asp?ID=1&Detail=1441&Arch=2009) Clearly, these institutions are not safe.
Except for a small minority, the disability community in Louisiana prefers receiving services in their homes rather than in large institutions. And, as an added benefit to the state, the closure and downsizing of institutions for people with developmental disabilities will cost the state less. So, if Governor Jindal’s budget is approved by the Legislature, it’s a win for everyone: people with developmental disabilities will receive services in their homes as they wish; they will be in safer environments; and the state will save money.
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