2 DDS centers slated to close amid state budget cuts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

2 DDS centers slated to close amid state budget cuts

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The DDS regional center in Meriden is one of two slated to close amid budget cuts. (WFSB photo) The DDS regional center in Meriden is one of two slated to close amid budget cuts. (WFSB photo)
MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut’s budget problems are forcing cuts to some of the state’s most vulnerable.

Thursday, the Department of Developmental Services said it plans to close two regional centers, which will affect 40 people with intellectual disabilities.

The closings are slated to save some money; however, some families feel it could also be a step in the right direction.

Some families are hoping the savings will help others trying to get into group homes.

The regional center in Meriden is one of the two centers slated to close. It serves 10 people.

The other one is in Stratford. That serves 30 people.

"No one is losing services,” said Commissioner Morna Murray, Department of Developmental Services. “There is a sacrifice that has to be made in terms of people relocating, but none of their services will be reduced."

Murray said people can move to other regional centers. There are state facilities and private homes.

The bottom line, according to the state, is that it’s costly to run the centers with few people living there.

DDS, like most state agencies, is faced with budget cuts because of the state’s deficit.

The union that represents health care workers at the regional centers said "shuffling clients from one facility to another to save money is not how we should be caring for our most vulnerable."

"I don't think it's just a bad thing,” said Rick Rothstein, an advocate for the disabled. “I think there's a tremendous need for the state to use its money more efficiently."

Rothstein said his son has been in a group home for 25 years.

Currently, there are about 2,000 people waiting to get into a group home.

Rothstein said he’s hoping money saved from closing the two centers will help them.

"We can't guarantee that right now because we simply don't know exactly what savings will be realized from this,” Murray said. “But we know there will be savings."

"My heart goes out to them,” Rothstein said. “That is something they haven't had to face. But I can be confident things will be a good outcome for them."

The DDS said there are about 170 healthcare workers at the two regional centers. It expects to reassign all of them to other facilities.

The closings are planned for the end of June.

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