All people, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity for a full life in their community where they can live, learn, work and play alongside each other through all stages of life. The Arc movement for the last 63 years has advocated for the closure of all institutions warehousing individuals with ID/DD. Specifically in Connecticut, The Arc filed the lawsuit that lead to the closure of Mansfield Training School and is in active settlement with the Messier Vs: Southbury Training School lawsuit. We will continue to advocate for the closure of Connecticut’s last institution Southbury Training School and the 5 regional centers.
In the U.S.,15 states and jurisdictions including Washington DC have closed all institutions. An additional 10 states currently have fewer than 100 people with I/DD living in institutions and several other states are actively engaged in the process of closing institutions for people with I/DD.
In 2015 the Connecticut General Assembly made it clear that that institutionalizing people for life, simply because they were born with an intellectual disability, is no longer consistent with Connecticut's values when they directed the CT Department of or Developmental Disabilities and The Office of Policy & Management to submit a closure plan for Southbury Training School and the remaining DDS Regional Centers. This plan must include a time line for the future closure [and] a detailed financial analysis that would show both the costs and savings in the short-term and long-term, according to nonpartisan fiscal officials. That report was due on December 31, 2016 but to date, it has not been submitted.
On April 3, 2017, Win Evarts a parent gave legislators on CT's I/DD Caucus a presentation to show what other states, inluding some of our New England neighbors, have done to close facilities and offer people with I/DD a better life in the community. Barry Simon, President & CEO of Oak Hill School also discusses what some providers in Connecticut are already doing to transition people successfully out of Southbury Training School to better lives in the community. Marilyn Hendricks, a parent whose daughter recently moved from Southbury Training School into the community spoke about their experiences as well.
Resources on institutional closure: