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Rainier School would close under Senate budget

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm with 2 Comments »
April 12, 2011 9:00 pm

The Senate budget released today would close two of the state’s five residential facilities for the developmentally disabled, Rainier School in Buckley and Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton, and plows most of the savings into programs that would keep those with disabilities in their home communities rather than in state institutions.

The budget proposals by House Democrats and Gov. Chris Gregoire called for closing Yakima Valley School, not Rainier.

With nearly 400 residents, Rainier is the largest of the state’s five Residential Habilitation Centers. Republican budget writer Sen. Joseph Zarelli said it makes more sense to close a larger facility and said Rainier is understaffed.

Tom Dean, who said his son Patrick, 49, is happy at Rainier School, wants all of the RHCs to stay open. He doesn’t believe the projections of $8.8 million in cost savings and said closings risk traumatizing residents.

“Trauma could bring earlier death to those people,” he said by phone tonight.

Budget writers said it remains to be seen whether other lawmakers will agree to the closures of the facilities, which have many allies who have averted proposed closures in the past.

Democratic Senate budget chairman Ed Murray said a former budget writer once told him, “Anything to do with RHCs is the third rail of this budget, and if I touch it I die.”

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. It makes more sense to close other RHCs and consolidate clients in WA’s largest RHC with open houses and beds. Most clients love their home at Rainier School, and the well-trained staff genuinely care about the client’s well being. In two years working on several houses, I’ve seen only compassionate and dedicated staff. Closing Rainier would be tramatizing for clients who have lived here most of their lives and are flourishing with work sites and supportive staff. “[Whatever you do unto the least of my brethren, you do unto me.]“

  2. Why would anyone think it makes sense to shut down a larger facility rather than a smaller one? Why don’t out elected officals shut down smaller facilities and relocate unplaceable clients to a larger facility that could fit there needs much better than in the community. I have worked at Rainier School for over 6 years and have worked with some violent clients and clients that have sexual urges that they are unable to control. At an RHC these people have the support and supervision to reduce if not eliminate these problems. I ask our so called leaders, “Do you want these violent and sexual predators living next door to you?”

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