Saturday, December 20, 2008

Some families want facility for developmentally disabled people in Baltimore to stay open

From WJZ-TV in Baltimore:

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Rosewood, a facility for Maryland's developmentally disabled, is set to close next June, but family members who have clients at Rosewood are asking the state for help.

After a murder in a privately run group home in Washington, D.C., families with loved ones at Maryland's Rosewood Center are speaking out.

Many think Rosewood is a great place and they hope it will be saved.

In January, Governor Martin O'Malley announced Rosewood can not be saved.

The state and federally run facility for adults with mental retardation will close Jun. 30, 2009.

"They're showing us vacant lots and dilapidated homes, that's where our children are going to be, we have no idea who is going to be staffed," said Harry Yost, family member.

Of the 166 people who lived at the facility, 20 still need commitment from a community provider so they can move.

"Even in the best of circumstances, even if you have a Rosewood resident who is brought into a completely different environment, it is going to be very challenging," said Sue Esty, AFSCME MD.

Family members are asking the state to help come up with a solution.

"When we consider the options, a lot came down to economics, we are in hard times. The cost of running a state operated group home is greater than that of other homes," said Michael Chapman, spokesperson for Md. Health & Mental Hygiene.

"The irony here is that there are 300 employees that work at Rosewood that have all these skills, why throw them away? But allow these employees to do what gives them their life satisfaction of working with these clients," said Esty.

Parents have the option of sending residents to one three remaining state run facilities.

"You have Holly Center and Potomac center, but let's face it. Once rosewood closes, they are going to be gone too," said Yost.

State officials with the department of health and hygiene say they do not foresee that happening. They say they have provided the families with a number of options.

The three other facilities are in Cumberland, Hagerstown and Salisbury.