As anyone who knows me (or has read one or two blogs on here or any of my other writing) knows, my son is autistic. We have pretty much acknowledged that, while we aren’t stopping trying and while we wouldn’t give up, we know that he will probably wind up in an assisted living type circumstance where he will need help with his daily life. We’re lucky in that we have lots of insurance for when we’re gone, and we know how to apply to get him what he will need. In fact, we’re already on waiting lists because many of them are eight to twelve years long (no joke).
However, for those that aren’t in that position, the world is, simply put, fucked up. I prefer not to go all out on the cursing in my blog, but this is one time it deserves it. Lubbock, Texas, has a state-supported living center. In 2009, they were investigated. At the time, they were at 20% compliance. Wait, let me repeat that. Fucking 20% compliance. 20%. 20-fucking-percent.
In the past four years, though, they’ve made gains. To 23%. Wait, let’s go over that one again, too. In four years, they improved less than one percent a year.
The state home is meeting requirements in 37 out of 171 areas.
And that is – scarily enough – not the worst of it. Between January 2011 and August 2012, there were 202 allegations of physical abuse and 188 allegations of neglect. Now, to be fair, only 50 allegations of physical abuse were substantiated, and only 83 allegations of neglect were substantiated. But a lack of substantiation doesn’t mean it didn’t happen; it just means that it wasn’t proven. And with the way things work, how long did it take to see if these things were true? Long enough that it *couldn’t* be proven? And how many people couldn’t even make allegations because of their conditions?
And, because I want to keep being fair – there’s one more thing you should know. Remember the year and a half including 202 allegations of physical abuse and 188 allegations of neglect? Here’s the thing you should know about that. There are only 211 residents. What do these numbers tell us?
Now, again, I want to be fair – I do not have the 500+ page report that details all this, so I don’t know if multiple allegations came from a single individual. In fact, they probably did. But it’s still just beyond troubling that there are only 211 residents and 202 allegations of physical abuse. Those numbers just seem overwhelmingly out of whack with a world that cares about the people in it.
I know I often quote from Hair, and maybe because that’s because I’m a hippie at heart, but sometimes it’s just so appropriate to ask “how can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel?” What is wrong that this is going on, and no one is fixing it. Yes, the state is stepping in now, and they are claiming that they will do evaluations every six months with plans for the state home to hit 100% compliance in four to five years. But what about those four to five years for the residents? They’re expected to keep suffering while the state slowly fixes a world that is abusive and neglectful?
No, I don’t know the solution here, but maybe we need to start looking for one. This isn’t the only state home, and I’m afraid that if I kept looking, I would find even worse numbers out there. But for us as the general public to act horrified when we hear about an individual child abused, why aren’t we outraged now? Why aren’t we getting the people involved removed and putting in a whole new and well-trained staff? Why don’t we care enough to speak up and step up?