Vermont Abusing the “Developmentally Disabled”?

Excerpt (edited) From: a rogue agency, allegations of rape, abuse and neglect in vermont human services agency by Tracy Gilman of Safe Choices Abuse Reports Blog

In 1987 Vermont passed Act 248 a law to deal with people slipping through cracks “the developmentally disabled”.  The act places the “incompetent person” into the “Care and Custody” of the Commissioner of The Department of Aging and Disability (DAIL), who then places the “incompetent person” into a designated Agency for “human services”.  The Agency is now able to access upward of $100,000 (of State Funds), yearly for EACH “client”! According to a 2010 report by D.A.I.L. Vermont has 200 “risk to public safety” clients. (emphasis added)

The designated agency in my son’s case is NE Kingdom Human Services.  For five years I have voiced my concerns about the “therapeutic model” which consists of 24/7 supervision and a weekly group, where high level sex offenders without disabilities are thrown together with low level offenders with disabilities and a third  type of “client” who has no charges and no convictions, just a disability.  The danger to the Psyche of these second two types seems obvious.   My son would tell me over and over, that he didn’t want to hear all this really bad stuff.

In an attempt to bring public awareness to this ongoing saga where men’s lives are at stake, I created the blog “safe choices abuse reports” and started to conduct interviews with some of the men who have escaped the “Safe Choices” Program.  I’ve heard nightmarish stories, stories far worse than those already reported in the series printed in the Barton Chronicle, Orleans and Caledonian Record.  Men raping men in bathrooms while the group is paraded by and told to “look straight ahead”, program directors having sex on their desks while clients pass by, clients being locked into rooms with no bathrooms and forced to defecate on the floor.

Full unedited article

VT already has an “action plan” for making sure this doesn’t happen!

Excerpts from the report: The Vermont Approach: A Strategic Plan for Comprehensive, Collaborative Sexual Violence Prevention in Vermont 2006-2010 – UVM

“The Vermont Approach is a comprehensive five year plan for significantly reducing sexual violence in Vermont. The Approach is aimed at transforming those aspects of culture that produce, take for granted and exacerbate sexual and related forms of violence and degradation against adults, teens and children.

The GOALS of the Vermont Approach are: (a) to achieve comprehensive sexual violence prevention that is multi-dimensional … (c) to strengthen and sustain institutional commitment to, and involvement in, preventing sexual and related forms of violence and minimizing counterproductive institutional practices;”

Here the report identifies the biggest challenge of achieving this goal.

“Cultural beliefs and norms supporting sexual violence are so pervasive that it is difficult to recognize and withstand their logic. The irony for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers who seek to end and prevent sexual violence is that we are members of the cultures we seek to change.

Here it acknowledges that the ‘actual work” is like walking the edge of a knife. Thus should require an independent group to regulate such facilities given this responsibility.

“If these three (reflexivity, self-honesty, and transparency) processes are employed too stringently, they can become life alienating processes for ourselves and others. If they are employed with kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, they will contribute to a mission of safety, peace, social justice, and non-violence.”

full report – http://www.uvm.edu/~socwork/msw/pdfs/Vermont%20Approach.pdf  

The NY Times Article At State-Run Homes, Abuse and Impunity published March 12, 2011, Shows how pervasive this issue is. Excerpt from the article: “

In hundreds of cases reviewed by The Times, employees who sexually abused, beat or taunted residents were rarely fired, even after repeated offenses, and in many cases, were simply transferred to other group homes run by the state.

And, despite a state law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, such referrals are rare: State records show that of some 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 within state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement. The hundreds of files examined by The Times contained shocking examples of abuse of residents with conditions like Down syndrome,autism and cerebral palsy.”

full article – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13homes.html

Tell the Governor you want an investigation of our Human Services facilities and their administrator’s records –

Executive Office of Governor Peter Shumlin 109 State Street, Pavilion Montpelier, VT 05609 Phone: 802 828-3333
Link to our Petition to Investigate Abuse of DD offenders 
Others to tell your concerns to:

Vermont Department of Mental Health 103 South Main Street, Wasson Hall, Waterbury, VT  05671 Phone (802) 241-2601

Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services – 1-800-750-1213, 1-800-845-4874

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5 thoughts on “Vermont Abusing the “Developmentally Disabled”?

  1. Pingback: VT Department of Disabilities ignoring Abuse of “DD Offender Population” « Vermont For Evolution

  2. Pingback: Comment From Former Employees of Northeast Kingdom Human Services « Safe Choices Abuse Reports

  3. The NYT article echoed exactly what is going on here. Thank you for the wealth of information. I Forwarded NYT to the Commissioner of the Department of Aging and Independent living in hopes she might try to avoid a similar end result by acting sooner rather than later. Thank you for your peaceful approach it is too easy to become enraged and as a result ineffective and i find your way much better. Shalom

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