A couple of years ago around this time, I parked outside a local group home I'd heard about and tried to peer into Max's future. I got an outpouring of responses to that post, including hearing from a neighbor that her niece was at a great local home. Recently, another group home opened in our area that seemed to have potential. There are times when I have hope about Max leading an independent life as an adult. And then I come across headlines like these and I am totally gripped by fear...and anger.
Five employees at an adult daycare provider for people with disabilities, along with the facility, have been accused of abandonment, endangerment and neglect. Disabled adults were supposedly physically abused by staffers.
Horrific. Disgusting. Who ARE these people?!
Stories like this hit my news feed all too often. The stats are alarming: People with developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely to be abused than people without disabilities, and are also more likely to be abused by a caregiver or someone they know. Last year, a report found that for people with developmental disabilities living in group homes, injuries, serious medical conditions and death itself were often not looked into or went unreported.
At this point in my development as a parent, I am pretty confident about getting Max what he needs. I have found a great team of therapists. I have persuaded insurance companies to pay for therapies, surgery and equipment. I have gotten him into various programs and camps. But crimes like this make me doubtful. How can I be sure that, left to live independently, Max will truly be in good, safe hands? While he would have the ability to tell me if something was wrong, I don't want to ever risk anything awful. But putting your child in a group home carries the all too real risk of abuse.
I do believe in the vast goodness of people. But I also know that Max, young adults and children like him are vulnerable.
I don't have answers today, just worries.