Hartford, CT – The Hartford Courant’s series on deaths, abuse, and neglect of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) sheds light on the need for more oversight and resources for the state’s system. Incidents occurred throughout the sector, from the last remaining institution in Southbury, to state and private run homes, to family settings. On the heels of the paper’s reporting, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has called for a federal investigation into deaths at federally financed facilities. The Arc supports an investigation, but one that looks at all settings of care because unfortunately, deaths due to abuse and neglect occur across the system, not just in private care settings.
“We applaud Senator Murphy’s swift call for an investigation into these incidents across our system of care for people with I/DD, and we look forward to working with him to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Connecticut. Any investigation has to go further than just looking at privately run settings – the data show that in Connecticut, these cases occurred in all settings that people with I/DD live in, from our institution to state run facilities to privately run homes to family settings. In order to make real progress in preventing deaths caused by abuse and neglect, we must have a broad conversation that looks at all of these settings, and takes a hard look at what we are investing in our fellow Connecticut residents.
“Budget cuts aren’t just about dollars, cents, and deficit projections – the lives of people are at stake. When we have a system that provides wages that don’t reflect the importance of the work carried out, and training that doesn’t prepare people for the situations they will face, we are putting lives at risk. There are many facets to this problem, and The Arc will continue to work with families, other organizations serving people with disabilities, Senator Murphy, and other stakeholders to end horrific mistreatment of people with I/DD,” said Leslie Simoes, Executive Director of The Arc of Connecticut.
The Arc is eager to take a leadership role in making the system better for everyone we support including placing the investigations in the hands of an independent entity with power to require meaningful remedial relief and making the results of investigations public so that there is transparency in what is going on and how government is responding. Another systemic change would include providing families with copies of abuse investigations and the remedial recommendations; this is a huge longstanding deficiency in the investigations conducted by Office of Protection and Advocacy and The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) that has gone unchanged for far too long.
Contact: Leslie Simoes, Executive Director, The Arc Connecticut, firstname.lastname@example.org, (860) 246-6400 x101