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Report: CVTC Residents Injured And Restrained Too Often
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 12, 2006

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA--Because there is not enough staff at Central Virginia Training Center, its residents experience high rates of injuries, and existing staff rely too heavily on chemical and mechanical restraints, a report from the state's Office for Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) has revealed.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the News & Advance last week reported having a copy of a five-page cover letter attached to the confidential report that was sent to Dr. James Reinhard, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services which oversees state-run residential facilities.

"The nature and frequency of injuries sustained due to challenging behaviors supports the conclusion that behavior support services are inadequate, placing individuals at significant risk of bodily harm," Colleen Miller, VOPA's executive director, reportedly wrote.

State officials would not comment, except to say that VOPA's statements were "very broad" and that they would like to learn more about the watchdog agency's data.

The News & Advance quoted CVTC director Denise Micheletti as suggesting that VOPA's numbers might be "a bit skewed" because all interactions with the staff doctor are now documented as "incidents".

CVTC, housing about 550 residents that have developmental disabilities, is the largest state-run facility and the only one with its own hospital and staff doctor.

The parent of two CVTC residents told the newspaper she suspected the report was "politically timed" to coincide with budget hearings.

Last month, Governor Mark R. Warner announced that his upcoming budget would include a record breaking $170 million in new funds for community services for people with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses. The proposal includes another $290 million to fully replace two aging psychiatric hospitals and two institutions -- including CVTC -- that house people with intellectual disabilities.

CVTC, which began as the State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded in 1910, housed nearly 3,700 people in 1972. It is estimated that about one-half of the 8,300 Virginians who were legally sexually sterilized during the height of the eugenics movement, between 1927 and 1972, were residents of CVTC.

"Watchdog group faults Lynchburg facility for mentally retarded" (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
"Advocacy agency slams CVTC" (News & Advance)

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