It is with sadness, disgust and also hopes that I am writing to you regarding the June 30th article on Bellwether. The story exposes horrific and unacceptable conditions at one For Profit organization. It also brings to light the larger issue of a lack of proper resources, services and support in our State and even the Country. What it also does, unfortunately, is lump all Group Homes together in an extremely negative light. I was disappointed to see only one or two lines throughout the entire piece that acknowledged the existence and need for the above-board, well-run organizations.
Your front-page headlines do not distinguish between Bellwether and other organizations providing adequate, if not superior care for these extraordinary individuals! As stated in your article, it is a struggle for families that NEED to place their loved ones in a supervised home. Your article does a disservice to these families who will now be even more fearful and to the developmentally disabled individuals who actually very often thrive in a supervised community environment!
I started with New Concepts for Living 6 months ago and was immediately touched by the care and concern I saw exhibited by our direct care staff, management, and our CEO. We have many individual success stories of residents in our care who improved in their behavior, achieved their full potential and live very happy, productive lives. We have families who send letters and emails thanking us for enriching the lives of their children, sisters, bothers and even lightening their own burdens, knowing their loved one is in good hands. We, like many other Well-Run agencies, have few significant unusual incidents. When we do, they are addressed and dealt with appropriately and promptly.
As a follow up to the piece on Bellwether it would be responsible for you and also of interest to your readers to publish an article on success stories, despite the challenges; to share ways people can help and provide resources for families who need services. Why not turn this travesty into a timely, interesting and helpful human interest story that will educate our community and potentially help the vulnerable individuals who need it most?
I would be happy to speak to you more about this and put you in touch with others that can provide stories, stats, and research. I hope to hear from you so together we can continue to undo the negative connotation associated with ‘Group Home’, a reputation we have worked so hard in this industry to change!