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Southbury Training School Family Organization Releases Statement Regarding Alleged Group Home Abuse in Connecticut

STS families and guardians say they are feeling under increasing pressure from the Malloy administration to move their loved ones from the training school.

Editor’s Note: The following statement was issued by the Southbury Training School Home & School Association.

The families and guardians of the Southbury Training School Home & School Association are calling for a comprehensive investigation of the state's community-based care system in the wake of the apparent abuse of an intellectually disabled resident of a group home in East Hartford that was captured on a videotape delivered this week to the news media.

We believe the Options Unlimited group home videotape combined with recent allegations of substandard care at residences operated by Humanidad in the Hartford highlight the need for a system-wide review of the Department of Developmental Services group home licensure and inspection process.  The review should also extend to the screening and training of staff in Connecticut group homes.

STS families and guardians are feeling under increasing pressure from the Malloy administration to move their loved ones from STS into this same community-based system.  We would urge state lawmakers to initiate this investigation.

While abuse allegations such as those concerning a caregiver at the Options Unlimited group home occur in both privately and publicly run facilities, our concern is that the widely dispersed, privately operated group home system is particularly vulnerable to the problem of abuse and neglect.  States around the country have been unable to monitor privately run facilities as closely as they oversee and inspect publicly operated facilities such as STS.  In addition, direct-care staff in privately operated group homes tend to be paid less, receive lower benefits, and have less training and higher turnover than their counterparts in publicly run facilities.

While the Malloy administration has pledged to thoroughly investigate the Options Unlimited allegations, we believe a more comprehensive review of the entire group home system is needed.  In addition to questions about the thoroughness of the DDS licensure and inspection process for group homes, we believe the process also lacks transparency.  Group home licensure reports are heavily redacted and provide little information to the public about problems that may have been found in the operation of individual residences.

barb hirsch July 14, 2012 at 07:30 PM
This article explains things in a nutshell. The State needs to re-open STS, to allow other families, struggling to care for disabled family members at home, to be moved into STS, and allow these clients to receive the exceptional care offered there. My brother has lived at STS nearly 40 years, and in that time, conditions have been upgraded dramatically, since STS was founded. He has loving caregivers, well-trained, with much less turnover than one finds in the community. The people he lives with are like family to he, and I , and the staff care for both of us, in so many special ways. We tried community placement for Art, and it was not right for him. He has thrived at STS, despite his mental and psychiatric difficulties. We are working vigilently to get the State to re-open STS, so our loved ones may live out their lives, in a very safe and loving place. I do not believe the community offers the level of concentrated services Art receives at STS, and that's why we are opting to keep him at STS as long as possible...it is in his best interest. Thank you.

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