Two important events last week when I was at our national meetings that I thought you should be aware of included a Chicago Tonight story on children supported by the Medically Fragile Technology Dependent Children’s Waiver and I was informed that the woman abandoned in Tennessee was coming back to Illinois.Here is a link to the Chicago Tonight story: http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/07/26/debate-over-medically-fragile-children
Below is the story of the woman returning to Illinois. The Arc is quoted.
Algonquin woman left in Tennessee bar headed back to Illinois
Severely disabled 19-year-old abandoned by mother to be placed in residential facility
By Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune reporter July 27, 2012
A 19-year-old Algonquin woman with severe disabilities who was left by her mother at a Tennessee bar last month was headed back to Illinois to be placed at a residential facility, officials said Thursday.
An east Tennessee judge ordered a day earlier that the woman be immediately released to the state of Illinois.
The teen was considered indigent after her mother, Eva Cameron, of Algonquin, told Tennessee officials that she no longer could care for her daughter and did not want to pursue guardianship.
“It became a crisis because she was essentially homeless,” said January Smith Trader of the Illinois Department of Human Services, which is handling her placement. The teen will go “straight to her placement” without the involvement of her family, said Trader, who declined to identify the state facility.
Illinois and Tennessee have lengthy waiting lists for housing the disabled and serve emergency cases first, officials said.
Cameron’s decision to leave her daughter at the bar roused anger — and some sympathy — in both states.
Cameron has said she drove the teen to rural Caryville, Tenn., on June 28, looking for a church to take her daughter to because, she said, she could no longer handle the daughter’s medical bills and escalating behaviors. Her daughter became sick along the way, she said, and so she stopped at the bar, which she says she believed to be a restaurant.
She watched her daughter enter the restroom, then drove home, leaving the young woman behind, she said.
Her daughter, who has the intellectual abilities of a 3-year-old, was discovered with no identification or money and was not able to identify herself, according to police.
Authorities tracked down Cameron after a photo of the teen was recognized by a Chicago-area tipster. They initially announced that Cameron had broken no laws, because her daughter is an adult.
No charges have been filed. But state officials are now investigating the case and have said they hope to “hold the mother accountable.”
Cameron could not be reached Thursday.
Over the past month, her daughter had been living at a residential facility in Kingston, Tenn., according to records filed with the Campbell County chancery court in Tennessee.
On Wednesday, Judge John McAfee issued the order that allowed the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to “immediately transport” the young woman to Illinois.
“The State of Illinois wishes to retain jurisdiction of her and has obtained a suitable placement that will provide appropriate services upon her return,” McAfee wrote.
Melissa Marshall, spokeswoman for the Tennessee agency, called the decision “a wonderful outcome.”
“We are ecstatic that Tennessee worked with the state of Illinois to ensure her safety,” she said.
Tony Paulauski, executive director for The Arc of Illinois, which provides services to the disabled, urged families seeking help for people with developmental disabilities to check his agency’s resources at illinoislifespan.org.
“Illinois is a broken system,” Paulauski said. “The governor really is attempting to rebalance the system. But many families are just so frustrated because of the lack of support services and respite care. It is a monumental task.”