Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boston Herald Editorial-$16 M to care for 14 people at Fernald

When it comes to the drawn-out closure of the Fernald Developmental Center the old stereotypes get turned upside down. This isn’t about faceless bureaucrats pinching pennies; in fact the state today is spending too much.

And the people who are unhappy about it aren’t just riled-up taxpayers — they’re advocates for the scores of disabled individuals in Massachusetts who must wait for services because there just isn’t enough money to go around.

Scheduled to close last July, Fernald remains open while the state considers appeals brought on behalf of residents set for transfer to other facilities.

But as the process drags out, the state is spending millions to care for the remaining residents of the Waltham campus, who today number all of 14. Last year the cost was $16 million. Gary Blumenthal, president of the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, labeled those costs “excessive.”

“They are the cost of delay and they are costing thousands of families the ability to gain services while preventing the state from effectively and efficiently using their limited dollars wisely,” he said.

Certainly families and guardians are entitled to act in what they feel is the best interest of the individuals in their care, but every dollar spent at Fernald is a dollar that isn’t available for the 30,000 individuals in need of services in the community or at home.

Blumenthal and other advocates are back at the State House this week, fighting proposed cuts to human services for fiscal 2012. They argue the pain would be made easier if the state weren’t sinking so much money into a facility like Fernald, and it’s impossible to argue that point.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Israel Unlimited Visits Cushing

Our students and staff joined with representatives from non-profits, government ministries and self advocates from Israel this week. They were in the United States visiting innovative and creative programs in New York and Massachusetts. We were honored that we were included on their itinerary.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

President Obama Appoints Our Friend Jim Brett

James T. Brett, Appointee for Chair, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

James T. Brett is the President and CEO of The New England Council, a position he has held since 1996. Prior to leading the Council, Mr. Brett served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for 15 years. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and the Advisory Councils of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and the New England Center for Children. Mr. Brett has been honored with several awards for his advocacy for the disabled, including receiving the Action for Boston Community Development’s Lifetime Public Service Award, the Massachusetts Special Olympics’ Distinguished Leadership Award, and the Hospice of Boston’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. In 1996, Bay Cove Human Services of Boston named a new community home for disabled adults "Brett House" in his honor. Mr. Brett is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and holds Masters Degrees in Public Administration from Suffolk University and from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reflecting on Today

 Today, many of us awoke with the news that  Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Throughout the United States and the world, this news was met with much joy. However, it also gave many pause to ask, "How can we be celebrating the killing of a life?" I found an answer that suits me. The Scripture tells us (Amos 5:15) not only to "love good", but also to "hate evil".