HAMDEN & HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Parents and guardians of disabled adult children are begging Governor Malloy to reverse his latest round of state employee layoffs.
492 more health workers at the State Department of Developmental Services are expected to be let go by the end of the year, and these parents and guardians are predicting dire results. Change is difficult for many people, but the parents and guardians of these Connecticut residents say this kind of change can be devastating and cause regression.
21 State Department of Developmental Services employees care to the 24/7 needs of five residents at the group home on Brook Street in Hamden. It is one of the group homes slated for privatization because of the layoffs.
Related Content: Connecticut state employee layoffs at a glance
51-year-old George Mathews has lived in the group home for the past 18 years. He can’t talk or put toothpaste on a brush, can’t turn on the shower himself. But his mother says he is comfortable in this environment.
“They’re breaking up a family and Malloy should be ashamed of himself for what he’s doing,” says Lindsey Mathews of New Haven.
54-year-old Arthur Carney has been a resident of the Hamden group home since 2009. His mother, Martha Carney of Hamden, fears a tragedy may happen if the staff he knows all leaves at once.
“Continuity of care is the most important thing for him and his peers within the home,” said Carney. “If they take the staff…it’s like a death to him.”
“The staff at this group home is more important to my son than I am,” added Mathews.
Lindsey and Martha joined other parents and guardians Tuesday to make their plea.
Lori Gaglione is guardian for her brother Joey who is at another group home.
“Gov. Malloy I will meet with you. I will take you on a tour. I will do whatever it takes but please listen…our hearts are broken,” said Gaglione.
Related Content: Malloy releases extensive list of new state budget cuts
The head of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, the non-profit organizations that will take over these group homes, says the standards of care will continue while saving taxpayer dollars. But the parents and guardians speaking out don’t buy it, because they know how change can affect their adult children in the state’s care.
“We’re just accepting economic reality of where we are and our need to find savings in the budget,” said Gov. Malloy at a recent news conference.
The Governor also notes that just 15 percent of these residents were in the care of state employees when he took office and that number is now down to 10 percent. He says this transition to private care, non-profit providers is part of a national trend and that there should be no service level reductions.