Lawmakers, parents. and staff of High Meadows Residential Treatment Center gathered in Hamden on Friday to protest Governor Rell’s decision to close the facility.
High Meadows is the only state-operated treatment facility that provides round-the-clock nursing and medical care for boys with serious emotional and behavioral problems. Many patients have developmental disabilities. Their needs are more complex than many private facilities can manage. In her budget address in February, Governor Rell raised the possibility of closing High Meadows. On Tuesday, the facility’s staff received word that those plans are moving forward.
Speaking to a crowded press conference, rehabilitation therapist Robert Genzano said closing High Meadows is not in the patients’ best interest. "We are not taking children out of High Meadows and placing them elsewhere because it is better for them. We’re not taking children out of High Meadows because the treatment teams have said, “You’re ready to go back to your families or you’re ready for a less restrictive environment”. We are sending children out of High Meadows becauause its cheaper for the government."
Parent Stacy Tattersall described caring for her 12-year old son Raymond, diagnosed at a young age with a brain tumor thats left him with a myriad of special needs. "I came to a very difficult realization when he started to overpower me and become aggressive..and I realized I was jeapordizing his safety, my safety as a single parent and the safety of my daughter. And then he came to High Meadows..its the only place that has a nurse on staff in his cottage 24/7 that can give him the care that he needs. "
Officials at the Department of Children and Families say closing High Meadow could save the state 8.1 million dollars in annual operating costs plus another 11.8 million in repairs to bring the facility up to code. High Meadows is the state’s smallest residential treatment center.