Why I voted YES on S.B. 906
While I am strongly for de-institutionalization, the plan for the closures of Polk and White Haven did not provide for an adequate transition for the individuals and the staff who have provided direct care to the individuals for countless years.
Simply closing the facility does not, in and of itself, solve the problems faced by the continued institutionalization of individuals. While it is an immediate remedy, consumers should have a plan to identify if they are eligible for medical assistance and could thus be waiver recipients, providing for a smoother, less traumatic transition.
Employment opportunities in the community-based provider agencies should be offered and suggested to the direct care staff who have provided daily, around-the-clock care to the individuals in these facilities, so there can be a measure of continuity.
I am a proponent of everyday lives and believe everyone should be provided care in the most natural setting in our communities. How we provide that care needs to be planned with each individual team and the transition should be accountable to the needs of each individual.