February 22, 2013

The Feb. 18 Metro article “A troubling future for the disabled,” about Virginia’s plan to close its training centers for the intellectually disabled, stated that four of the five “are to be shuttered by 2020.” But this is a decision that has yet to be made.

On Aug. 23, District Judge John Gibney issued a ruling in which he stated, “Nothing in the decree compels Virginia to close any facility. . . . The Court recognizes that the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is trying to move away from a care model with Training Centers, but the ultimate decision whether to close any Training Center lies not with the Department but with the legislature.” The Virginia General Assembly is considering its options.

The department has requested ever-increasing funding to implement its own plan, which it has doggedly pursued in defiance of the terms of the state’s agreement with the Justice Department over the centers.

Most training center families are unalterably opposed to discharge. Virginia’s community capacity and protections are insufficient, as is the department’s respect for the Supreme Court’s Olmsteadruling regarding the proper placement of people with developmental disabilities.

Jane Powell, Richmond

The writer is president of Central Virginia Training Center Families and Friends.