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More support for disabilities

Monday’s article from the Seattle Times about Rainier School (“Report details problems at West Side institution for disabled people,” Jan. 22) is not an accurate picture.

Rainier is one of four residential habilitation centers (RHCs) in Washington. It is tragic that residents have passed away; both guardians and staff still grieve. Appropriate agencies were immediately contacted because there exists networks of audits and evaluations. Our RHCs have always successfully resolved citation issues. The focus is maximizing each person’s potential through skill development.

A report given Congress by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services raises grave concerns about the health and safety of those living in community residential programs. The community homes do not operate under the same rigorous standards under which RHCs operate. Such programs, in our state, are not subject to unannounced audits and inspections. We parents, guardians and advocates of RHCs stand ready to work with those in the community. We should all be working together to improve services for people with intellectual disabilities. They deserve such good-faith efforts.

We support choice by which a person with intellectual disabilities has the right to decide whether he or she lives in an RHC or in a community residential program. Sadly, some on the community side refuse.

Bonnie Sullivan


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