The truth of the matter is that our communities have proven that people with mental retardation can thrive in smaller settings while accessing the medical and recreation necessary to support their needs.
While the community setting has proven successful, the argument of keeping the facilities operational has to be examined. The bottom line is that all the services provided at the facilities can be provided in a community setting. Whether it is health care, recreation, or day programs, the communities throughout the state provides these service.
Therefore, the question has to be asked. Why should the state pour millions of dollars into keeping DMR facilities opened?
There are thousands of us throughout the state that are grappling with possible cuts in service. Everyone living at facilities are being guaranteed equal or better services in the community. All of you will have that forever. There are only so many pieces of the pie. Think of us.
Advocacy is a vital component of living in a democracy. But it is time to think of the greater good. Let’s end this bipartisanship. All of us can join in advocating for quality services for the mentally retarded. But it should not be the facilities vs the community. Let us join together to work on a system that provides for the best services for every individual with mental retardation.