Letters to the Editor

Safety net wins in Olympia

We’re celebrating a very hard fought “win” in Olympia for people with developmental disabilities!

Huge thanks to all nine of our Island and Skagit County Legislators that voted yes to stop admitting children to our state Residential Habilitation Centers (institutions for people with developmental disabilities). The legislation will also close two of our five remaining RHC’s with thoughtful transition plans for the residents to move either to a community setting or one of the other three RHCs. Furthermore, any savings will then be used to provide for services to individuals and families (13,600 and more waiting) in our local community settings.

This decision supports the value of life. It supports the ability of individuals to chart the course of their own lives, respecting each person’s ability, dignity, and liberty, which is the foundation for our free and prosperous nation.

As a caring community, this legislation provides a safety net of social services that meets the basic needs of people, so they can attain their full potential. Moreover, it supports and strengthens family and community services for people with developmental disabilities, and increases our programs’ flexibility to facilitate integration into the community.

This is historic legislation that aligns Washington state closer to the progress made in other states around our nation in recent years. I celebrate this civil rights victory tonight with my daughter, with our family, and on behalf of all individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Our dream for freedom is coming to pass, one vote, one bill, at a time. Cheers to freedom and life!

Joy Caldwell, executive director
The Arc of Island & Skagit counties

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