Families Worry About State Closing Homes
Families are concerned they'll have to put more of their loved ones in private homes if state-run centers are shut down, as proposed by Gov. Blunt.
"Unfortunately, it became a desperate situation," explained guardian Kristal Lindstrom, "when I finally decided, 'I'm calling the state and I'm going to file a suit.' Basically, that was because we were told, 'We have no other options, come pick him up.'"
And, Auditor Claire McCaskill says the state needs to keep better watch on private group homes.
"The idea that we can't require that an independent investigator look at a report of abuse of someone who is mentally disabled, in a home that the state is paying for, that's just ludicrous," she argued.
Missouri does not investigate private homes as thoroughly as it does state-run institutions, so important medical issues may be overlooked in those homes.
"They didn't even see that he had diabetes, and unfortunately his sugar was at 654. He was in sugar comatose," said Lindstrom. "He had lost 30 pounds in that month, and he was wetting the bed. This was very unusual for my brother. But the group home staff didn't notice something was wrong?"
Now, family members can decide to send disabled relatives to state-run facilities or group homes. But, Gov. Blunt will announce his proposed state budget Wednesday, which could include a list of state-run homes Missouri might shut down.