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"Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent
 about things that matter."
   -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Advocates For People With Developmental Disabilities

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Fircrest President Remembered

Shoreline August 19, 2017 -- Family and friends of Jim Hardman gathered in the cafeteria of the Fircrest School to remember Jim's life. Approximately one-hundred-forty people in all.  Some were his his colleagues and old friends others were Fircrest staff and his wards.  Many memories were shared. 
      Jim once requested that his bagpiper friend play Amazing Grace at his funeral.  The following video snippets catch the essence of Jim's celebration and the sound of his friend's bagpipes.

Employee's Union Rallies to Save Fircrest


Saturday May 200, Members of the WFSCME (Washington State Federation of State Employees, Council 28) gathered in force at the main entrance to Fircrest School in Shoreline.  They were joined by members of the SEIU service workers union and several parents, families, and members of Friends of Fircrest and Action DD. There were others as well.
     It was a beautiful day for the occasion. The intersection of !5th Avenue and 155th Street was packed with sign wavers, chanters and well wishers.  Car horns and bull horns sounded almost nonstop for over two hours.
     The message was, "Save Fircrest."  Certain legislators are attempting to close Fircrest through legislation. There maneuvers have left the the legislature divided on the future of Fircrest, home to over 200 people who are among our state's most afflicted with developmental disabilities.
   Senator Maralyn Chase gave a hopeful address to the crowd in favor of Fircrest for those in need of the closest care.  Representative Cindy Ryu also spoke in support, and the City of Shoreline mayor, Chris Roberts, told everyone that his city wants to keep Fircrest. 

This video explains why we need our RHCs

Some would have you believe that RHCs are not needed.
This five-minute video is a must watch for anyone who wants
to understand why Washington State supports RHC care.

                   Will Our RHCs Close?
Right now a bill is before our legislature
(2SSB 5594) that if it passes would close Fircrest School.  Already, an earlier bill was signed into law that is closing Yakima Valley School. Strong organizations like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Arc of Washington, and others are using their clout to try and close our state's RHCs. Even King 5 news is out for closure. However the Supreme Court of the United States does not agree. They say the "The ADA is not reasonably read to impel States to phase out institutions, placing patients in need of close care at risk."
        Here in Washington State, our RHCs function as treatment centers for people who are most in need of close care. They live in homes much like those on any street in our community. Their caretakers and professional staff are with them day and night. 
       Only your legislature can close or keep our RHCs.  It is up to us  to educate our legislators of the need for RHCs and our desire to keep them. Unfortunately, It's about money and ideology.  But, no money has ever been saved by closing an RHC -- only death and misery for many of those displaced. The misguided ideology that everyone should live in the community is just wrong. There are a few who cannot.  For them, we have RHCs.
         Washington should be looked as a leader in caring for people with developmental disabilities, not a state that lags behind the nation in closing institutions as some would say.  We closed our institutions many years ago and built a community of campus homes for those in the greatest need of care.
          You can help those few in greatest need.  It's easy.  You can call the legislative hot line (800) 562-6000 and let your legislators know your feelings. you can join Action DD and be an advocate, you can contribute money to Action DD to keep a lobbyist in Olympia. 
         If you are not familiar with an RHC, then click here for slideshow tour of Fircrest school. 


It's important to know the facts about our RHCs
Fact 1.
Only 4% of people with a developmental disability  who require state services live in a large facility called an RHC*.
Fact 2. People who need RHC care cost just as much when served in the community, but the community provides fewer services.
Fact 3. Closing RHCs and moving residents causes depression, injury and death. This is called transfer trauma. It is now happening nation-wide. 
Fact 4.  Washington State is being impelled by community based advocacy groups and even the federal government to close RHCs.
Fact 5. The Supreme Court Olmstead Decision states: "The ADA is not reasonably read to impel States to phase out institutions, placing patients in need of close care at risk."
Fact 6. People want the services of RHCs. For people in need of close care the RHC is the best possible treatment and residential option.
Fact 7. People with high care needs are often isolated in apartments not free to be part of a community.  Many are being deprived of the needed care of an RHC.
Fact 8. RHCs may not look like what you've been told.  Click on gold seal to see for yourself.

* What's an RHC?

Washington State's Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC) provide intensified and therapeutic services for people in the most need of close personal care.  RHCs are a part of the continuum of care for people with developmental disabilities.

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Statement 1 No savings to close
Statement 1 Part of continuum
Statement 1 Efficient services
Statement 1 Respite care 
Statement 1 Safety net
Statement 1 Prevent mortality

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