Meet Stacy: Sweet smile. Tells great jokes.
She also has very limited movement and is developmentally disabled.
For the better part of her adult life, Stacy has worked at the Eisenhower Center.
As I've written before, the federal government has embarked on a determined path to close or defund programs that serve people like Stacy all over the country. Vermont, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, New York are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are 3 reasons we need to protect workshops:
1. The vast majority of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities either cannot or do not wish to work in the community.
2. Workshops work. For 50 years, they have provided a vital safety net for the most vulnerable members of our community.
3. States that close workshops do NOT see increased employment for two-thirds or more of people with disabilities, leaving them worse off than before.
Ohio appears to be next. You can read the entire article here. True, there are some claims that workshops "won't go away," but the record in other states does not give us much trust in that promise.
What will the result likely be: Here is a quote from the sister and guardian of a man with disabilities. Her fears speak directly to the need to speak out on behalf of these programs.
One of those directly affected will be Judy Smith of Cincinnati, whose brother, Joey Fritsch, 46, has gone to the Robert W. Franks Adult Center workshop in that city his entire adult life. He is picked up and dropped off at home each weekday.
“That’s all he’s known,” Smith said. “He doesn’t make much money, but it’s a routine, and he feels safe.”
Smith said her brother and many others will be unable to function in jobs in the community.
“He wouldn’t know what to do,” she said. “He’d be in a situation where he could get hurt.”
Smith, who is her brother’s guardian, is angry about the coming changes, although she acknowledges that she doesn’t know specifics.
“He’ll be back sitting at home. In my opinion, they’re putting him back in the closet.”