Archive for the ‘Disabled’ Category

Disabled Plaintiffs, State Reach Deal on Living Conditions

August 23, 2013

Thousands of Texans with disabilities housed in nursing homes without access to rehabilitative care could see improved living conditions under an interim agreement reached with the state on Monday.

The class action lawsuit, filed in 2010 by disability rights advocates and six institutionalized plaintiffs between the ages of 26 and 46, alleges that Gov. Rick Perry and state social services officials have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide appropriate treatment to some 4,500 Texans living in nursing homes. 

Garth Corbett, a senior attorney with the watchdog group Disability Rights Texas and the lead attorney on the case, told the Tribune in 2010 that many of those individuals were receiving care for their disabilities at home or in the community but were mistakenly sent to nursing homes after being hospitalized for illness. Once there, he said, they were effectively trapped, since many did not have advocates or the capacity to argue for their own transfer.

Under the interim agreement, the state has committed to expanding community living options for people with intellectual disabilities; avoiding admitting individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities to a nursing facility if those people can safely live in the community instead; and devising educational activities to address community living options for affected individuals and their families. 

Full Article and Source:
Disabled Plaintiffs, State Reach Deal on Living Conditions

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CA: Advocates Seek Oversight at Developmental Centers

July 20, 2013

Citing a stack of reports criticizing state officials for not properly overseeing facilities that care for people with developmental disabilities, advocates called on Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday to appoint an independent figure to improve safety at state-run care facilities.

In a letter delivered to the governor’s office, advocates said the Department of Developmental Services repeatedly has failed to improve operating procedures at the state’s four developmental centers.

A new, independent safety official is needed to ensure the 1,500 residents are protected from abuse, states the letter from the California Supported Living Network, the California Disability Services Association and other organizations.

The request came after a state audit released last week described how reports of abuse at developmental centers have not been properly investigated. Auditors say investigators often failed to interview alleged victims or photograph crime scenes.

Auditors cited frequent turnover within the department’s investigative arm as one reason issues raised in earlier reports have not been addressed. They recommended improving investigator training and reassessing staffing requirements at the centers.

The advocates and former residents of developmental centers who gathered at the state Capitol said they would prefer to see the facilities shut down, allowing residents to receive alternative forms of assistance. More than 99 percent of the 250,000 people who receive services through the department reside in communities, not the state-run centers.

“Ultimately the only solution to their safety is to close these institutions, but that can’t happen overnight,” said Greg deGiere, public policy director for The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration. “The people who are living there now deserve much better than California has given them.”

Full article and Source:
More Oversight Sought at Developmental Centers

See Also:
NASGA’s website: No One is Safe

Denying suffrage to wards said ‘excessive’

March 17, 2013

Even though Japan’s adult guardianship system may be necessary to protect the assets of those who need additional attention due to their mental state, stripping them of their suffrage is an excessive infringement of rights that goes against international trends, experts said.

Thursday’s ruling that the Public Office Election Law takes away the voting rights of the disabled and the elderly with dementia is “unconstitutional” cast the spotlight on the fact Japan lags behind the global community in protecting the rights of those with certain disabilities.

The guardianship scheme was first introduced in 2000 to help people with cognitive disabilities manage their assets. It replaced a system dating from the Meiji Era that prevented those declared incompetent from having control over their own property and was often criticized as discriminatory because details of their disability was officially entered into the family registry.

Makoto Arai, a professor at Chuo University and president of the Japan Adult Guardianship Law Association, welcomed the ruling, but at the same time criticized the current system for being “behind the times.”

“Times have changed since the Meiji Era, when the old system was established, and (the adult guardianship system) was created with a new principle to respect the elderly and the disabled (to allow them) to make decisions by themselves and to create a society in which they can live normal lives,” Arai said.

Full Article & Source:
Denying suffrage to wards said ‘excessive’

A Short Documentary Film

December 30, 2012

A short documentary film directed and narrated by David Goodwin about a little girl from England with Down Syndrome and The Feuerstein Institute in Jerusalem from whom she receives treatment. Source: Down Syndrome Film “Looking Up on Down

‘David Fettgather: Dependent Adult Abused by Californial Conservator’

November 21, 2012

Contributed by David Fettgather:
I am 24 years old. I WANT TO GO HOME TO MY “DADDY’S HOUSE”. I was placed in a really bad care home in 2005 by Alta Regional Center-the Boss now is Phil Bonnet (he has been mean to my dad and won’t let me go Home). The Boss works with my Boss, a Conservator. It was Kay and is now Betty Wright. She will not let me go to my Daddy’s house either. She has a really bad lawyer, Todd Robie who is mean to my Dad and files Court papers so I have to stay in the care home I don’t like. Six years is a long time. I am homesick and sick. Please help me and my family and my friends and my Dad-he writes for me because I can’t; he speaks for me because no one else knows how to listen. Join my Circle of support and help me come home, David.

Contributed by Dr. Robert Fettgather:
On November 10, 1986, David Fettgather was born, frail of body, but strong in spirit. And with Down Syndrome. There were grave health concerns, painful surgeries he could not begin to understand, and long recovery periods.

But his body got stronger….and so did his spirit. At home, school and in our community for 17 years, David was a joy and a challenge as he carried so many of us to the very limits of patience, with a clever and mischievous sense of humor!

Thanks to so many skilled helpers, communication, social and even computer abilities blossomed with each November IEP: precious gifts. Those early birthdays were so overwhelming that David cried out and threw himself head first….into his own cake! As usual be got the hang of it, and “happy birthday” and “candles-cake” became vocabulary mainstays. He was a carpe diem boy!

Thanksgiving became his most beloved holiday, for David knows better than most the deepest meaning of “feast”. He may have invented “mindful eating”! And this prankster would, in flawless rhythm, move from fork to mouth…to smearing the sleeve to the lucky diner to his right. He would resume eating, and show no hint of a smile at the mess.

David has a dry sense of humor to compliment his slapstick antics. Also, David’s paternal grandma’s birthday came on the 12th, just two days after his own. All of his grandparents were wonderful. I took special delight watching him with my own mom who was a loving presence even as dementia began to overtake her.

Finally, a woman who had shown consummate love and tolerance her whole life, became cranky and easily upset by David, who did not understand the changes in “Amah”. It was a long goodbye for her, and David was blessed in the end at just being with her quiet presence- not knowing of the agony she had suffered and her coming death. Actually, it was a foreshadowing.

You see, the genetics of Down Syndrome mean early onset dementia for David. Since 2005 he has languished in board and care. Those years ought to have been like the first 17, spirited, curious, always learning, always challenging us.

But, instead those years have been lost. The disability industry wastes no time with spirit (“behavior problem”). Years of failed school and residential care (translate as no meaningful stimulation) has broken a once fully alive spirit.

Guardian Wright even warned not to “overstimulate” David who has starved for the rich stimulation he once knew. And so as David’s birthday comes, I celebrate and mourn. David’s once great spirit flickers for a moment now and then.

With Thanksgiving I remember the blessing he is, as I despair over where has been the last 7 years….and where he is going. His fate remains locked in the hands of Guardian Wright and the State’s Alta Regional Center and he is ordered to custodial care, cleaned and fed, far from Home.

His papers (IPP) are lies, but they are “in order”. He is easy to manage now, and can be comfortably ignored by residential and day program staff. He is a shadow of what he once was, and in the not too distant future, dementia will slowly, insidiously take him.

Still, November is so sweet. I love you, David.

Source:
David Fettgather: Dependent Adult Abused by California Conservatator

Court May Force Mentally Disabled Nevada Woman to Have Abortion

November 5, 2012

With obvious public outcries against forced abortions in China and forced sterilizations of mentally handicapped individuals in Nazi Germany, one might assume the United States knows better.

However, today, in Nevada, the life of an 11-week-old unborn baby and the future of his or her 32-year-old mother hang in the balance as a judge considers whether or not to order the woman to undergo an abortion and sterilization against her will.

Elisa Bauer, who suffers from severe mental and physical disabilities attributed to fetal alcohol syndrome, is currently in the final weeks of her first trimester. The second-oldest of six children adopted by William and Amy Bauer in 1992, Elisa has epilepsy and is said to have the mental and social capacity of a 6-year-old.

The circumstances surrounding her pregnancy are unknown. Her family suspects she may have been raped, but it’s possible the sexual encounter that led to her pregnancy was consensual. On several occasions, Elisa has left her group home for hours or days at a time to engage in sexual activity with men at a local truck stop.

Legal guardianship

Since turning 18 in 1998, she has continued to remain under court-approved guardianship of her parents, who were given legal authority to make final decisions regarding her health and welfare, even as she lived in a group home.

While Elisa has maintained that she wants to carry out her pregnancy, she knows she will be unable to care for the child. The Bauers support her decision, are following all the prenatal protocol for high-risk pregnancies, and have already lined up six qualified couples who are eager to adopt Elisa’s child once he or she is born.

However, when Washoe County Social Services became aware of Elisa’s pregnancy, the department issued an informal report requesting that the Court set a status hearing to address the potential health effects Elisa’s pregnancy could have on her and her unborn child, and possibly override the mutual decision made between Elisa and her parents to have her baby.

A Facebook support page has been created on behalf of the family to help get the word out about Elisa. Visit http://www.facebook.com/SaveElisasBaby to learn more.

Full Article and Source:
Court May Force Mentally Disabled Nevada Woman to Have Abortion

YouTube: We’re More Alike Than Different

October 18, 2012

People with Down syndrome make great employees, are honest and hardworking, have dreams and aspirations, and have more in common with you and I than we realize. Helping change these perceptions is the goal of the successful campaign from The National Down Syndrome Congress.Source: YouTube: We’re More Alike Than Different

Stealing David

September 18, 2012

David Fettgather is a young man with Down Syndrome. He was stolen from his family and put in board and care in 2005 by corrupt Alta Regional Center. They profit from taxpayer money by holding him captive. Family hired a Guardian to intervene for David. But the Guardian who also profits from David’s captivity, colluded with Alta. David Circle of Support was founded to help David and other victims of Regional Center and Guardianship abuse.

Source:
YouTube: Stealing David

See Also:
FriendsOfDavidFettgather

Listen to David’s father, Dr. Robert Fettgather, discussing David’s situtation on “The Truth Squad” radio with Marti Oakley and her co-host, Linda Kincaid. David has been isolated from his family and friends for more than seven years with no real and plausible reason given as to why.

Listen to internet radio with Marti Oakley on Blog Talk Radio

Source:
The Truth Squad: Vulnerable Adults Targeted by Predatory Guardians

Two accused of exploiting disabled Montgomery County man

September 14, 2012

Two people hired to care for a disabled Montgomery County man have been accused of exploiting him, officials said.

Detectives are looking for the two – Theresa McElroy, 42, and Michael Wayne Brown 40 – who have been charged with exploitation of a disabled individual.

They are accused of taking items from the man’s Montgomery area home, officials said. Some of the items belong to the man’s late wife and were sentimental to him, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office officials said.

Full Article and Source:
Two accused of exploiting disabled Montgomery County man

Death Takes a Policy: How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges

September 5, 2012

Joseph Caramadre has spent a lifetime scouring the fine print. He’s hardwired to seek the angle, an overlooked clause in a contract that allows him to transform a company’s carelessness into a personal windfall. He calls these insights his “creations,” and he numbers them. There have been about 19 in his lifetime, he says. For example, there was number four, which involved an office superstore coupon he parlayed into enough nearly free office furniture to fill a three-car garage. Number three consisted of a sure-fire but short-lived system for winning money at the local dog track. But the one that landed him on the evening news as a suspect in a criminal conspiracy was number 18, which promised investors a unique arrangement: You can keep your winnings and have someone else cover your losses.

Caramadre portrays himself as a modern-day Robin Hood. He’s an Italian kid from Providence, R.I., who grew up modestly, became a certified public accountant and then put himself through night school to get a law degree. He has given millions to charities and the Catholic Church. As he tells his life story, his native ability helps him outsmart a phalanx of high-priced lawyers, actuaries and corporate suits. Number 18 came to fruition, he says, when a sizeable segment of the life insurance industry ignored centuries of experience and commonsense in a heated competition for market share.

Federal prosecutors in Rhode Island and insurance companies paint a very different picture of Caramadre: They say he’s an unscrupulous con artist who engaged in identity theft, conspiracy and two different kinds of fraud. Prosecutors contend he deceived the terminally ill to make millions for himself and his clients. For them, Caramadre’s can’t-miss investment strategy was an illusion in which he preyed on the sick and vulnerable.

ProPublica has taken a close look at the Caramadre case because it offers a window into a larger issue: The transformation of the life insurance industry away from its traditional business of insuring lives to peddling complex financial products. This shift has not been a smooth one. Particularly during the lead up to the financial crisis, companies wrote billions worth of contracts that now imperil their financial health.

Full Article & Source:
Death Takes a Policy: How a Lawyer Exploited the Fine Print and Found Himself Facing Federal Charges