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Down-sizing Ohio Institutions Ahead Of Schedule
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 3, 2005

COLUMBUS, OHIO--Ohio is six months ahead of schedule in Governor Bob Taft's plan to down-size and close one of its state-run institutions, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sunday.

Taft announced in January 2003 his plans to close Springview Developmental Center by June 2005 and Apple Creek Developmental Center by June 2006 to save the state an estimated $23 million over the next four years.

At that time, Springview had 84 residents and 178 employees. Now it houses 29 residents and 128 employees.

Apple Creek, which had 179 residents and 381 employees, now houses just 84 residents and 286 employees. At the current rate, Apple Creek could close as early as the end of this year.

Robert Jennings, spokesperson of the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, told the Plain Dealer: "We're sticking with the original closing dates at both centers. We may be ahead today, but we don't know if things will speed up or slow down in the next 18 months."

Of the 150 who have left the institutions just 13 have moved into community settings such as group homes or with families, and 23 have died, according to Jennings. The rest have been transferred to the other state-run institution or privately-run intermediate care facilities.

Family members of institution residents, along with institution employees, have resisted Taft's plan and tried to stop the closures. They pressured lawmakers to add a review committee to a bill providing protections for crime victims with developmental disabilities so they would have time to come up with ways to defeat the plan. After the extended review, Taft decided to move forward with his plan.

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