Department of Developmental Services future to be discussed at h - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Department of Developmental Services future to be discussed at hearing

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A hearing is scheduled regarding the future of one critical state agency, The Department of Developmental Services.

This comes after its commissioner resigned and a lawsuit was filed by state worker unions.

Parents of people with disabilities will be joined by state workers for the hearing. They're expected to testify about what they feel should happen with DDS moving forward.

This comes at a crucial time as the state agency undergoes leadership and structural changes. 

DDS commissioner Morna Murray is leaving in January. She took the job last year and was credited by Gov. Dannel Malloy with expanding job training opportunities. She's also been a leader amid the Malloy administration's publicized plans to privatize 40 group homes.

About two months ago, two unions representing state group home workers, CSEA and SEIU 1199, said they filed an injunction against DDS' efforts to privatize group homes. It's a plan that could save about $70 million, but would also mean about 600 layoffs.

Family members of those who are disabled gathered at the Hartford Superior Courthouse in October and made their case. Their feelings are that those who have mental disabilities do not react well to making changes in the way they live, so moving into new homes, for example, could be devastating.

Malloy said the state’s goal is to make sure everyone is taken care of, but there's a significant difference in cost between the way it's been done and the proposed way it could be done.

The Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance called the change difficult, but for unions to suggest that state workers are the only ones who can give quality care to the disabled is not true.

Tuesday's public hearing is set from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 1A of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

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