To the Legislators who voted to close the Montana Developmental Center:
SB411 is not yet signed into law and already it is having a huge effect on the clients and the staff at MDC. During the entire process involved in mandating the closing of MDC, the clients who need the services, the families who support them, and the people who work with them day in and day out were never asked what they needed or wanted.
This bill will hurt real people in real ways and was passed by you, who did not take the time to understand what you were doing. You are making people jump off of a ship that is not really sinking into lifeboats that have huge holes in them.
The sad thing is that the clients who are harmed by this bill, their families, and the staff that provide service to them will have to suffer the consequences of your action and you will walk away.
Disability Rights Montana painted a vivid picture of MDC as a mismanaged facility rampant with abuse. You accepted their assessment without question when the truth is that MDC staff are dedicated, caring and hardworking people doing an almost impossibly difficult job with little or no assistance from you or the state.
The needs of the clients at MDC are profound and providing service for them is complicated and difficult. The process of developing and providing community service options for them is also a complicated, difficult and costly process that requires significant planning and time for implementation.
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If this bill becomes law, you who voted for this irresponsible bill are responsible for its consequences and the real effect it will have on people’s lives. The sad thing is that you will probably just move on and the real damage will be done to the people whose lives will be directly affected.
-- Dustin Farnum, Box 419, Boulder