Parents, Legislators Discuss Keeping Training Centers Open

Richmond, VA - {}Parents, legislators and advocacy groups are still trying to find a way to keep four Virginia training centers from closing. The state decided to close the centers as part of an agreement with the justice department.{} {} The Central Virginia Training center in Madison Heights is set to close in 2020. The state wants training center residents to transition into community-based homes -- close to their families. However, families are divided on what is the best option for their loved ones. Mothers, fathers, siblings and guardians of the intellectually and developmentally disabled drove to Richmond from across the commonwealth. All have one common goal, to fight for their loved ones right to the best possible care. "If individuals choose to be transferred to another training center that we do that in a safe manner" said one work group member. For Jane Anthony, that means keeping the Northern Virginia training center open. With less than a year and half until NVTC closes its doors, Anthony says a community based home won't work for her son Jason. Jane Anthony, Son in training center "Those who have gone out into the community are those who can go out. Those who are left are the medically fragile and behavioral challenged" said Anthony. In the second of three meetings, SB 627 work group members brought up concerns about having access to adequate care in the community. However, not every parent on the panel supports keeping the training centers open. "With every dollar we continue to put in the training center we are jeopardizing the future of the children with disabilities that are coming out of the system now" said parent Kim Goodloe. Goodloe has twin boys with intellectual disabilities. She says with 85-hundred families on the waiver wwait listwait llistedshould focus on creating more slots and improving the system, rather than keeping training centers open. "Our legislature this year gave 25 waiver slots to people with ID knowing there are 85-hundred waiting. Yet we are still having the discussion about funding millions of dollars into training centers" said Goodloe. The next meeting is set for September 5th. They were supposed to meet for three sessions but they have the option to call a fourth meeting if necessary.