Parents Fight to Keep Virginia Training Centers Open

Madison Heights, VA - Parents fighting to keep Virginia's training centers open say closing them might mean death for their loved ones. Families, advocacy groups, and legislators are set to meet in Richmond Monday to explore ways to keep the centers open.{}The center in Madison Heights is one of four set to close in the next six years.{}

It's all part of an agreement the state reached with the Justice department to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.{}Yet, parent groups throughout Virginia say they cannot get this kind of care anywhere else. The Central Virginia Training Center has been Taylor and Tyler's home since they were two.{}"They have nursing 24/7, they have physician on site 24/7 and they have all their IEP Special Education here" said mother Martha Bryant. Their mother says they were prematurely born and suffer from a number of ailments requiring active around the clock care. "They have seizure disorders, so sometimes they are being treated for emergency seizures. This week it's asthma" said Bryant. However, the twins' are set to lose their home of 18 years once the training center is closed for good in 2020. A move which their mother says will likely mean death. "Central Virginia training center says open just like Lynchburg General stays open. What closes?community resources." Under the state's agreement the DOJ will increase the number of community-based homes, services and waiver slots available to the more than 600 training center residents. "Services might be homes, so might be some sort of apartment, it really would vary. It would depend on the needs of the individual" said Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Christina Nuckols. "There are 8,500 individuals on wait list who have made it very clear that they are looking for community based services." However, Bryant says this model doesn't work for every resident in particular her twins who need specialized care. "It's an insufficient model it's capitated, it's fragmented and certain services aren't available" said Bryant. Virginia Health and Human Resources secretary Bill Hazel says the department will work with the 2,000 employees who will likely lose their job when the 3 training centers close.

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