Everyone wants the best for their children, and if your child is going to require a lifetime of care you most definitely want the very best possible.
Just because an individual has special needs doesn’t mean that they deserve any less when it comes to dignity, respect, and a comfortable, safe living environment.
When we were looking for placement for Zachary, the “powers that be” thought we were asking too much. When we said no to homes on busy streets, with no fences, with four people in a room, and only one staff on at night you would have thought we were asking for a long-term stay at Club Med.
There are people who think the things I listed are “luxuries” and that we should not expect tax payer dollars to provide these things to my son and others. They feel Zach and individuals like him should not be “Entitled” to anything beyond basic care.
How do we express the need for change? What will it take for lawmakers and agencies to see the urgency for transportation, community activities, more quality housing with trained staff where consumers are safe and lead a fulfilling life?
There is such a shortage of spots, especially safe and appropriate spots that it has become like the Hunger Games….who can get the best spot first? May the odds be ever in your favor!
I implore those of you with adolescents that may be looking for alternative placements in the future to start writing politicians, and mental health agencies now. We need to let the folks making these decisions know that we are not OK with substandard care, or worse yet no care and no help. We need to speak up on behalf of our loved ones about the importance of dignity, respect and quality of life.