Please, Help My Brother Stay in His Home!

Today, I have a huge favor to ask anyone and everyone willing to respond.

I would like to introduce you to a member of my family.

John at 2 yrs

This is my brother, John. He was born in November of 1961. You see, my brother, John, has a form of autism. During the  1960s – 1970s not much was known about autism. Due to John’s erratic behaviors and side effects from the trial and error of many different types of medicines, Mom an Dad could not care for my brother at home. He needed to be cared for professionally. This was a very difficult decision for my parents and after much thought, prayer and consultation, in 1974, John was placed in GDC (Gallipolis Developmental Center). This was close to where we lived and my parents and I could visit him often and keep a close eye on his care.

John 1972

According to an annual report from the state of Ohio GDC was one of the largest facilities of its kind and served 2358 residents. Now, the census is down to around 99. After more residents are relocated to group homes, the census will soon be down to 59. (according to a phone call from one of GDCs administrators). This is a huge drop!

John bday

So, why do you think there was this huge drop in census? Well, that is our fear. Yes, Developmental Centers do cost our state money. Yes, our state is always trying to cut the budget. Yes, my mother and I have received phone calls from GDC administrators wanting to suggest that we allow John to be placed in a privately owned group home. (John was placed in a group home at one other time and it was not the most appropriate setting for him).

Yes, we fear of an upcoming closure of GDC!

John 1977

There are several reasons why we have this fear.

  1. The huge yet gradual drop in census.
  2. A huge drop in the workers. In October of 2013, 80 positions were cut from GDC.
  3. There is already a slated closure within the next two years for two other Developmental Centers (Montgomery and Youngstown). See article.
  4. The need for this legislation, S.B. 64 which states that no more developmental centers can be closed without members of the General Assembly reviewing and creating a Commission.
  5. Lack of communication from GDCs new administration to guardians. Administration used to keep in contact with parents and guardians of any new legislation or orders from the court or any changes. The only contact we have had lately is about these new group homes.

 

As John’s adult guardians, my mother and I received notices recently in the mail that the Supreme Court of Ohio recently passed a law that we now need to attend classes every year in order to keep our guardianship. If we don’t take the classes, we may lose our guardianship! That would mean John would become a ward of the state and we wouldn’t have any say in his placement. Is this to make it difficult on current guardians to keep their family members in developmental centers? I don’t know. I just know that so far we have had a lot of difficulty just getting registered for the only class that is located in our area and is coming up in the next two weeks! Not much notice!

100_5886

I ask you this:

Please. If you live in one of these counties in Ohio (Fayette, Pickaway, Ross, Pike, Vinton, Jackson, Athens, Meigs or Gallia) that are serviced by GDC contact your state senator or representative. Also, contact our governor. Let them know the importance of keeping our state’s developmental centers open. Group homes do not work for all residents. There needs to be the option of a Developmental Center.

If you live in any other county in Ohio, this affects you as well. All Developmental Centers in Ohio stand the chance of closure if Ohio citizens don’t stand and act!

If you do not live in Ohio, do you know the status of developmental centers in your state? Are people, like my brother, who are developmentally handicapped being offered options as to the most appropriate environment for their care?

We need to take a stand for those who cannot stand up for themselves! GDC is home to John and the other residents there.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
 Matthew 25:40 NIV

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Please, Help My Brother Stay in His Home!

  1. Amen, When I stated at GDC in 05 I could honestly say I loved my job it was really booming then and yes there has been a lot of changes and I hate to say it is not for the better and I too dislike how there trying to push are peers onto the group homes they say it’s what the clients want but that’s not true even the ones that want to stay have to go at some point and they fool the family’s by telling them that these group home’s are like GDC but that is so not true and they try to tell the family’s that your loved one’s that live at GDC would have a better quality of life at a group home again not true I have worked at a group home before GDC and if I had a loved one that needed assistance I would want them to live at GDC not a group home since i’ve worked at GDC we do and go to places with the peer more at GDC then they would at a group home we have are own LPN RN on are living areas at all shifts all time and are Dr ‘s are on the area or on call all the time unlike these group home’s that are so great not to Minchin are AT center that is open to are staff and peers with a pool hot tub work out room stim room game room art room gym movie room and so much more I can go on and on that a group home don’t have not to minchin are psychologists and therapist and physical therapy that are also on areas or on call at all time for are clients unlike a group home so if I had a choice of the two GDC or group home I would stay at GDC so please please help us keep it open and are residents in there home cause they say that they have a choice but they don’t so let’s all come together And fight for there right to live GDC there home and just maybe they will take us more seriously cause I to hate seeing are residents leave cause just like we are there family they are,ares I see and spend more time with are residents then I do with my own family some times. Thank you

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    • Thank you so much Gretchen for your comments. Yes, John was in a group home for a while and he regressed while he was there. While it may be alright for some, it doesn’t work for all. The staff at GDC have been great. My mother has told me she feels John is getting excellent care there. When we went to the Christmas party this past year you could see how well the staff interacted with the clients.

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  2. The pics you posted is exactly how I remember Johnny at grandma and grandpa Diddle’s. I haven’t seen him in years. I have a friend that is employed at GDC. I’ve asked about him through the years. I’ll certainly make some calls on his behalf and my hope is your post will also generate many more calls. Love to the family. .

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  3. I will forward this. My friend Linda Lotzi worries about Whitehaven Center in Pennsylvania being closed and her sister ending up in a group home not giving the best care.

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  4. I agree with Gretchen GDC is a good place for families that has loved ones. I have been there for 12 years and I have worked with your brother the first 6 years and he was a pleasure to be around he enjoyed the area. John had great Suoervisors that cared about him and took him and the other clients out and done things with them as in: Fishing, Cook outs, trips to the Mall, Kings Island, Camden Park, lots of different restaurants. Movies, walks, had scheduled times for the pool, the Gym, Even on Sunday mornings a preacher comes in for the clients to have church. They have Special Olympics they go to they get medals and they go bowling. They have a work shop. I could go on and on. But the main thing is Love and Families and people caring about the clients and not just going to work for a pay check. At Gdc when u work on a area with the indivuals u become part of their family. They look forward to see u and depend on you. Most of the clients has been there most of their lives. I understand that there are certain things that rules have to apply but I will never understand who or why the rules apply for people with special needs and can’t take care of their selves and their parents are to old or their health isn’t as good as it use to be so they trust a development center to do the care and love and family parts in their life’s then just take it away from them. I wish who ever makes these decisions would stop and put your selves in the families shoes or the loved ones shoes that is being forced out of their home. I had a very good friend there as in a Woman Client who lived there for many years she had no choice and no family members living to care or fight for her besides me but I was a staff so my hands was tied. She got moved 5 hours away with no family no friends and a new home. I would go be with her faithfully I loved her so much I would have taken her home but I wasn’t allowed. So each time I had to go and watch her cry and want to go home and see her real family the ones she has known and trusted for long time. But then I had to watch her go down hill more and more and my dear little friend past away and I know it was from depression and being taken from her loved ones and the only place she had to call home and have so many memories and they was her memories who are we or anyone else to take such blessings from them. I say stand up and fight for your loved ones and for the ones that can’t do the fighting. They have feelings and a right in this world as we all do. May God Bless us All.

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  7. Ann, my sister was also a resident at GDC, for 44 years, until this May when she passed away. My story is alike like yours. My mother and I also were guardians of my sister, we received the calls and letters you have mentioned. We have written our senator, governor and anyone else who would listen. I will pray that things turn around and your brother is not forced out of his home. Despite the cutbacks and decreased staff I feel that the residents are still well cared for!

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  8. I have worked at GDC for 14 years. I have seen some come and goe. Those who have come from group homes come to us because they are not doing well at that group home. They start doing better get adjusted and boom back to group home only to return months later. Some were in group homes and it failed for them yet they continue to think that group homes are suitable for them all. I visit a few of the guys who left GDC and went to group home on regular bases and i can tell you with words as well as pictures they did not get the care they needed. One has returned to GDC recently and the other i keep a close eye on. Others i know that have left walked out of here only to now be on a walker because of wieght gain taking its tole on his fraigil feet. Another about died and guess what he was returned to GDC and is doing fine. Places like GDC needs to remain open for those not suitable for group homes. One client is about to leave and the group home isn’t going to purchase the equipment needed for his care he now receives at GDC. Why move him them ??they need to think of their welfare and their feelings. These individuals are Gods special ones. GDC has way more to offer than group homes I have seen this for myself first hand.

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