Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

News & Events

Reports from VOR's 2016 Annual Conference and Washington Initiative

VOR's 2016 Annual Conference and Washington Initiative was held at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill again this year. By all accounts the conference and initiative were a great success, both in terms of reaffirming our committment to VOR's mission and in our success at getting out message to legislators and their staff members. Please click on the links below to see some of the materials presented to Congress at the Legislative Initiative, reports submitted for the confernce from state coordinators and attendees, some of the supplementary materials presented at the conference.

Please click here for a list of our conference sponsors, whose contributions made this event possible.


Click on the pages below to access downloads from the conference:

Legislative Initiative Materials

State Reports

Supplementary Materials Presented at the Conference

Getting Olmstead Right: Expand Options in Connecticut

Familiar myths are leveraged in the Op-Ed “Phase out Southbury Training School and similar institutions” (January 13, 2015)

Families whose loved ones are alive today because of the highly specialized care provided at Southbury Training School (STS) and similar state-operated programs have grown weary of this finger pointing. Their family members have profound intellectual disabilities with multiple physical, medical and/or behavioral challenges. They have expensive needs. Changing addresses will not change that.

Authors Shelagh McClure and Tom Fiorentino get Olmstead all wrong – and they know better. The U.S. Supreme Court considered what constituted discrimination according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – not the Constitution – and, most importantly, the Supreme Court did NOT require the closure of programs. The Court said that “[t]he ADA is not reasonably read to impel States to phase out institutions, placing patients in need of close care at risk.” Instead, the Court held that community placement is only required when chosen by the individual according to his/her specific needs.

Where we do agree with the authors is that “the time is NOW to address the waiting list crisis.” The winning formula to address unmet needs, however, is not to displace individuals now receiving appropriate care into an already strapped service system, creating even more need. Instead, STS and programs like it, now underutilized, should be made accessible to those-in-need now and in the future.

Read full letter to the editor

Developmentally disabled need Holly Center as choice

Linda Scherer, VOR Member
August 28, 2014
The Daily Times (Salisbury, MD)

With news of some changes at Holly Center, I am writing as a family member of a Holly Center resident who is happy in his home, thrives there and receives many services and relationships enhancing his health, well-being and independence.

My brother is 58, has multiple disabilities and has been a resident since 1976, when our parents (now deceased) moved to Salisbury specifically to help assure my brother's placement at Holly Center, which was and continues tob e a top-notch home for him. 

Read full editorial here

Holly Center closure chilling

By Mary Reese, VOR Board Member
August 25, 2104
The Daily Times (Salisbury, MD)

The Holly Center administration recently announced the closure of another of its residential cottages. After this closure, there will only be 4 of the original 9 cottages in service; the current census is well under half of its original capacity. Holly Center is a federally regulated facility operated by the state of Maryland to serve those with intellectual and / or developmental disabilities (IDD).

I am the legal guardian of a 70 year old woman, Ginger, with profound IDD who requires 24/7 total care and is medically fragile. Ginger has lived in a facility based setting and in a group home setting; we have experienced both. The group home, or community residential program, was inadequate to meet her complex needs. The state only allowed Ginger’s admission to Holly Center after she suffered serious injury at the result of the group home staffs’ neglect.

Read full letter to editor