BDC was established in 1973 as a residential developmental center. It was designed to replace the infamous Willowbrook facility, which was forced to close due to the horrible treatment of its developmentally disabled patients.
Presently BDC continues to serve as a place of last resort for those individuals who cannot live at home or at a group home.
However, Governor Cuomo has recently decided to force the closure of BDC (and three other similar facilities) and move these severely developmentally disabled residents to group homes.
What will happen to the BDC residents who cannot adjust to a group home environment? Has the State prepared for this contingency to accomodate the large number of residents who are severely disabled?
My son John, and many other residents from the various locked down residential units fall into this category. Many of these men and women require 24 hour supervision due to severe behavioral problems such as aggression, pica and self-injury (SIB). Many cannot even communicate verbally. Group homes do not have the medical/nursing and direct care staff to meet their many needs.
We and other involved parents do not understand the Governor's actions. The Governor's budget is very generous to a number of constituents and the State has received a substantial recent settlement of over $600 million from JPMorgan Chase, much of which has yet to be allocated. So why are they neglecting the needs of the developmentally disabled?
The closure of BDC will not only affect the severely disabled, it will also impact the future of nearly 600 workers who may lose their jobs or be forced to relocate. These workers are normally under tremendous stress to protect our children, and many direct care staff are now forced to do extensive overtime on a regular basis due to the departure of staff that is not being replaced.
I started this petition to give a voice to the severely developmentally disabled, including my son, who will not thrive at a group home. The Governor & the acting commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Kerry A. Delaney, do not understand the damage and risks that each of our children will be exposed to at group homes.
This petition is the last remaining barrier to prevent Governor Cuomo from making this horrible decision. Our children should not be deprived of a secured environment. They already suffer greatly. They should be allowed to live out their remaining years in a familiar, and safe environment.