Your Views: Parent fears closure of sheltered workshops serving those with disabilities

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Help! Unless something is done to stop it, the state’s sheltered workshops will close. Claiming segregation and exploration, the Center for Medicaid Services has formulated new rules.

Our daughter, Rosa, 31, is one of countless people being targeted. Rosa has cystic fibrosis. By 2 she nearly died from starvation; she then lived in an orphanage for 2 more years. She was mute, had closed fists and pulled in neck when she joined our family at 4. Today, communication problems, cognitive challenges and emotional anxieties persist. For 13 years she has worked at Elkhorn’s VIP Industries, where her body and personality have unfolded.

She has:

-- A justified feeling of worth by accomplishing over 100 jobs.

-- Time, equipment and space to do her medically crucial midday treatment.

-- A pro-rated minimum wage based on production.

-- Training to become an ambassador, telling her personal story to an audience.

-- Transportation to community volunteer activities.

-- Valiant, coached, brave, yet unsuccessful attempts at community employment.

-- Deep human connections with staff and fellow employees!

Do you know, or can you sympathize with, someone like Rosa who has profited from VIP or a similar facility, and would be devastated by its closing? Please help! Please send a letter asking for protection of the full array of special-needs services that are currently available. Opinions must be received by Sept. 2. Please send to: Division of Long Term Care, Office of Family Expansion (Transition Team Plan), 1 West Wilson St., Suite 518. P.O. Box 7851, Madison, WI 53707-7851.



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