Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Abuse reported at group homes in Washington
Listen to the families
Abuse in group homes will continue because groups that claim to advocate for people with developmental disabilities (The Arc, Disability Rights Washington and Developmental Disabilities Council) do not listen to the families of these vulnerable people. The families are the experts and know what it takes to keep their loved ones healthy and safe. [“Report: State ignoring abuse at group homes,” NWTuesday, Dec. 18.]
When questions about accountability are ignored, when “research reports” authored by DSHS employees are bogus and cannot be defended yet are used as “facts” by these so-called advocates to base legislation on; when agencies that receive public funds to “advocate” for citizens with intellectual disabilities use those funds to discriminate against those very people; when these agencies do not share critical information regarding health and safety to families — we get the situation we now see.
Many of these unreported, uninvestigated and unpunished criminal acts have come about from the push to deinstitutionalize. The risks of deinstitutionalization clearly outweigh the benefits now.
We, as a community, need to realize there are benefits to supportive communities for all — not just the elderly, wealthy, over-55 crowd or any other group that lives in a gated or planned community, but also for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Cheryl Felak, Seattle