Segregation: The Barrier to Lives of Quality

 

In the past 12 years, DHH has promoted segregation and attempted to normalize what is arguably the most profoundly harmful practice in human services: At our last Quarterly Meeting many of you heard the Assistant Secretary for OCDD liken the segregation of people with developmental disabilities to living in a family or a college dorm.  This re-embrace of segregation goes hand in with DHH policies:

 

  • The RAM cuts in rates and reduction in service hours pressure providers to put as many people under one roof with as few staff as possible.

  • The introduction of the so-called “shared option”, which should be called the “segregation option”.

  • The initiation of the Residential Options Waiver, which promotes segregative groupings.

  • The relentless pressure from DHH to put people in day programs.

  • The 38% increase in nursing home rates, while in-home support is cut by 23% in the last four years.

  • The DHH attack on in-home support both ideologically, through punitive and incompetent audits and recently through the assertively punitive posture of Health Standards. Nursing homes and group homes have not only been exempt from the RAM cuts and these punitive audits and surveys, but are being promoted and protected by DHH.

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The Network has stood virtually alone in opposition to segregation: The DD Council and the Advocacy Center have been mute on the issue.

One of the casualties of DHH’s regression has been the virtual disappearance of DHH-sponsored values based training. The Network as in this workshop, focuses on raising awareness of positive values of support to valued roles and community membership. We have, however, not done enough to expose and oppose segregation, those social policies Martin Luther King called “the moral evil”.

 

Effective opposition to segregation and actions to desegregate will not be possible without the active and sustained efforts of Network members. The Network’s Campaign Against Segregation will begin with a focus on raising our awareness , which has been affected by DHH’s efforts to mis-educate and mute any criticism of segregation. We will be preparing all of us to understand segregation more thoroughly and to support ourselves in being the messengers to our larger community.

 

The Network’s Educational Initiative will focus on the core dimensions of segregation such as:

 

Segregation: “The Moral Evil”

 

Definition: People with devaluing labels spend much of each day with other labeled people and staff. People without labels spend much of each day without relationships with labeled people.

 

Impact on Labeled People and Society:

 

Isolation—destroying the relationship between labeled people and community.

 

Is the number one way that “they” are created, both in social perception and in the internalization of the stereotype by labeled people.

Greatly amplifies the stereotype to the person and community

 

We cannot penetrate the stereotypes and see Paula, not the MR/DD/Senior. We just meet “them” not an individual

 

Destroys individuality—Mortification making the self dead.

 

Is exploitative—Martin Luther King warned us in 1968: “Always remember that segregation is fundamentally exploitation.”  Nursing homes, group homes, day programs—right now segregation is where the money is. With staff ratios of 1:12 in nursing homes, one minimum wage direct service workers generates 10’s of thousands in annual revenue.

 

Finally there are NO Valued Roles in segregated facilities.

 

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