Speaking out for people with
 intellectual and developmental disabilities.

News & Events

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

National Disability Advocate Visits Misericordia, Premier Caregiver for People with Developmental Disabilities

For Immediate Release - August 25, 2104
For More Information - Julie Huso, Executive Director, 605-370-4652 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
CHICAGO - Julie Huso, Executive Director of VOR, a national, nonprofit organization advocating for high quality care and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traveled to the Chicago-area to meet with representatives of Misericordia.

Located in Chicago, Misericordia is home to more than 600 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, offering those in their care a community of support and opportunities.

“Misericordia is home, in every sense of that word, to the individuals who live there,” Huso said. “It is a special place.”