Sunday, Director Casey met with the families at the Murray Developmental Center. Here is some press coverage of that event. Director Casey will address The Arc Board of Directors at our board meeting this Saturday in Pontiac.
DHS Developmental Disabilities Director Address Murray Center Closure at Murray Parents Association Meeting
9/10/12 @ 6:41:49 am
Tensions were high at times as state officials addressed parents and guardians at the Murray Parents Association meeting Sunday. Director of Developmental Disabilities Kevin Casey with the Illinois Department of Human Services addressed the closure process of the Murray Center. The Murray Center has been up for closure since Governor Pat Quinn’s budget address in February, claiming it will save the state money during the state’s budget crisis.
Casey addressed the crowds saying that the process to start moving residents out of the Murray Center and into community care has not started, however the process has begun at the Jacksonville Development Center with about forty-residents being moved out so far, and only four-residents struggling to adjust. Casey says Community Resource Associates (CRA) will not begin assessments on associates until after October 1st or later.
He says once residents are being moved out, it will take between 16 and 24 months to close the facility. “Starting to me does not mean we start doing assessments. Starting means we actually start moving residents to other areas outside Murray, and this facility will not close until a safe sound reasonable place to live has been developed or found for each of the individualists who live here”, said Casey.
Casey discussed the process of how CRA assessments will be completed with interviews with the parents and guardians over specified care for their loved ones and creating a Personal Centered Plan (PCP) that will be written by CRA staff. Once reviewed and finalized, residents will then be relocated to community care facilities. Casey also said that staffing at the Murray Center will remain at levels they are right now, which is at or above other centers in the state, until the facility is shut down.
Many in attendance voiced their concerns about the whole process, saying the time, effort and money going into CRA and community care placement could be going to keep the Murray Center open and keeping providers at Murray Center.Those against the closure also claimed that the state wasn’t ready, and is still not ready, to move residents out of State Operated Developmental Centers (SODC’s) into community care.
Murray Parents Association President Rita Winkeler addressed her concerns as well, questioning Casey on several items that have not been answered still to everyone. “If we decide that we want our children or siblings to move, we would go with the team here at Murray. We have a wonderful team here at Murray that knows what they are doing. They would be able to provide us through this. Quite frankly we have no idea why we would need CRA. The vast majority of us do not want to go along with CRA at all. We have signed papers saying we will not allow CRA to look at our loved ones records, and we need to know right off the bat if you are going to honor our requests because we do not want CRA looking at our records because we do not need them”, said Winkeler.
Casey addressed the issue saying parents and guardians have no legal requirement to use CRA in the process and can opt out of it.
Winkeler also says many community care providers that DHS has suggested to move residents to have been turned into the state multiple times for violations and problems with treatment of residents and other issues, bring more concerns as to where residents will be moved to if the facility closes. Parents and guardians still do not have an answer to that as Director Casey claimed he didn’t have that answer, or answers to most concerns brought on by the Murray Parents Association and others.
Casey did say that he was not at Sunday’s meeting to debate the issue, as it is his job to close the facility. “It is my understanding that there will be a lot of activity this fall to get to a point where a decision is reversed. I have to tell you because I can’t be anything but honest with you. I don’t think this decision will be reversed. I think that this center will be closed. I think as individual families, we’re trying to offer you the opportunity to be as involved in the decision making of what kind of supports and services other than Murray you want in your interest. I urge you strongly to be involved in that process”, said Casey.