McDonnell urges lawmakers to add money for developmentally disabled
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) sent a letter to legislators Monday encouraging them to set aside millions of dollars to move residents from institutions that house developmentally disabled people to community-based care.
The money is designed to send a signal to the Justice Department, which recommended the number of developmentally disabled people living in the state's five training centers across Virginia be reduced as quickly as possible.
"This legislation will facilitate efforts to improve Virginia's training centers,'' McDonnell wrote in the letter. "It will assist in our discussions with DOJ to resolve the current situation and, most importantly, it demonstrates the Commonwealth's longstanding commitment to provide care for our most vulnerable citizens in the most appropriate setting."
McDonnell has not asked for a specific amount of money; budget negotiators from the Republican-led House of Delegates and the Democratic-controlled Senate will hash out a number before the annual legislative session is scheduled to end Saturday. The House has recommended $30 million.
The Justice report said the state has harmed residents by keeping people in large institutions instead of providing smaller, community-based homes. McDonnell and sponsors of his bill -- Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk) -- recommend residents be moved from training centers, including the Northern Virginia Training Center on Braddock Road in Fairfax County, to group homes or to live at home and attend day programs.
| February 21, 2011; 5:25 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate
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