"Fifty or 60 years ago, families didn't have a choice about where their loved ones went: they were told by medical professionals, 'if you have a child with a disability, put [him or her] in an institution and forget you ever had them,'' said Leslie Simoes, executive director of The Arc Connecticut, an advocacy group.
But the patchwork safety net that has largely replaced institutional care is not adequately serving all families, Simoes
The state Department of Developmental Services has an annual budget of about $1 billion, she said.
It costs about $380,000 per year to provide services to each of the 353 people living at Southbury Training School
The cost per year at the state's regional centers is about $400,00 per person, Simoes
"You're talking about a lot of money that gets spent on a very small percentage of the population served,'' Simoes
In contrast, the average per person cost at group homes ranges from $220,000 to $120,000 per year, Simoes
Meanwhile, countless families are caring for their loved ones on their own.
"They don't have any peace of mind right now to know where their loved one will go after their gone,'' Simoes
said advocates are pressing for major changes.
"We're looking for a whole system overhaul that really looks at the resources that are available, and how they're being allocated and what works for families," she