Too little data to decide on placements for disabled adults

April 14, 2014 

Families and legislators need accurate information to make informed choices regarding care for the disabled.

An evaluation of the Jacksonville Developmental Center Closure (preliminary results) was released in March. In a discussion on the ARC website, Tony Paulauski notes that 89.2 percent of the guardians reported that they were somewhat/very satisfied with their ward's living situation. He notes that as he expected, "the findings are very similar to other studies of institutional closures in Illinois and other states." Readers who do not investigate further will see this as success. This is not a proper conclusion and is misleading.

Only 65 (36 percent) of guardians responded to the survey. That is hardly large enough to make any conclusions regarding the 178 individuals transitioned from Jacksonville. Note that 113 (64 percent) of residents transitioned out of Jacksonville are not accounted for. We need to account for all the residents. How many are in other state developmental centers? How many tried community settings only to be sent back to a state center? How many are homeless and using services in Jacksonville or other community shelters? How many have had reports of abuse or neglect or died?

If the state is doing followups as it has stated it would do, where is the data? The existing data is inconclusive at best. It does not seem unreasonable to expect a full accounting of the Jacksonville transition before subjecting Murray Center residents to the same.

Laurie Stengler


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