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Michigan DCH “Vision” of the Future — Concerning Residential and Vocational Programs | DDadvocates.com

DDAdvocate Newsletter #17 Michigan DCH “Vision” of the Future — Concerning Residential and Vocational Programs

Following is an excerpt from a document we received from Rita Bird who is a member of the Ottawa County Community Mental Health Board. It refers to a draft “Vision Document” prepared by the Michigan Department of Community Health and raises concerns about the level of choice that will be available in the future for Michigan consumers with Developmental Disabilities:

“That vision includes the elimination of Sheltered Workshops…, day programs, and group home settings.

Some of the goals listed in the MDCH Vision are:
“DD adults will earn income at jobs and other income opportunities not limited to activities in which only people with disabilities participate or are employed.”
The Vision excludes “sheltered workshops or other readiness or skill building programs.”
It further states that “DD adults should live in their own homes with their name on the lease or rental agreement…, pay the lease, utilities and other living expenses, having a key to the front door.”
The Vision excludes “living in licensed adult foster care homes or being congregated with other individuals with disabilities or in segregated housing or communities.”
The Vision identifies full inclusion as, “…membership in the community participating in sports and recreation like others in the community and excludes groups like Special Olympics and friendship clubs. It also excludes attending day programs or sheltered workshops where all participants are individuals with disabilities.”

The Executive Committee of the Michigan Association of Mental Health Boards will consider a “Choice Resolution” in opposition / clarification to the MDCH Vision at a meeting to be held May 17, 2010.

The “Choice Resolution” is intended to clarify that persons are not to be automatically transferred out of group homes or work shops or other settings unless the individual chooses a different setting which is appropriate for the individual and can be supported by the community. The mental health system should support what choices people make, what works, what is really possible and what is safe for persons served.

In other words, if you live in a group home with friends, you should not be forced into a smaller setting, or if you participate in a day program or workshop and you choose to do this, you should not be refused that choice based on State policy

Mental Health Boards in each county are responsible for planning and providing services for members in their communities based on the level of funding received from the state. Cindy Dingel, Chair of the Detroit Wayne County Community Mental Health Board and Veda Sharp, Executive Director of the Detroit Wayne County Mental Health Agency will represent Wayne County at this meeting.

Please contact Cindy cdingell@co.wayne.mi.us and Veda today vsharp@co.wayne.mi.us in support of the “Choice Resolution” .

For your information both the ddAdvocates Process Survey and a more formal Survey of the Developmental Disability Community in Ottawa County point to the extremely high value placed on supported work shops and other day programs which are being targeted by this policy..

It will only take a minute to express your support. Do it NOW by forwarding this message to the above addresses!

Thanks. Keep being heard!

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