I think we can safely say now that North Carolina does, indeed, warehouse folks with mental health problems in adult care homes – something advocates have long alleged.
The Department of Justice released their findings letter yesterday on the results of an 8 month long investigation of NC’s use of adult care homes to house people with mental health disabilities. The statement of findings bluntly states as much in the first paragraph.
“We conclude that the State fails to provide services to individuals with mental illness in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs in violation of the ADA. The State plans, structures and administers its mental health service system to deliver services to thousands of persons with mental illness in large, segregated adult care homes, and to allocate funding to serve individuals in adult care homes rather than in integrated settings…”
You can read the entire document here: DoJFindingLetter
The document makes some somber reading. Page 8 details living conditions in adult care homes.
“Residents consistently described the regimentation and control exerted over them by facility staff and policies. Some residents reported they can only leave the facility to attend medical appointments and, as a result, their days are ‘depressing’ and ‘boring.’ One resident explained that the adult care home ‘controls when you get up, when you eat, and when you go to bed.’ A resident of another facility described her life as ‘living on a closed ward’ because she is locked in at all times and does not have the freedom to walk into town. Another resident secured a job outside the facility, but was let go with the first few days because he was unable to get there from the facility. Likewise, a resident explained that she missed the ‘freedom’ of doing things with people in her community and that is is upsetting to her when staff talk to her ‘like [she] will be there until [she] die[s].’
Phone calls out for reactions…