The METO Settlement
Steve Larson: The Need for Sunshine and Community Inclusion
Steve Larson: This is a very unfortunate situation. History definitely repeats itself. There were incidents like this in hospitals. There was an incident similar to this in a nursing home in southern Minnesota where a group of teenagers got together and were abusing the residents. We need to have transparency and sunshine on all services for persons with disabilities. And what I mean by that is, we have to have other people—not just staff—but friends, community members involved in their lives.
And that's their greatest protection. It's not passing laws and setting up systems, although that's important, but we need to get people with disabilities connected to the community so that people are involved, and if we notice something's wrong, we can do something about that. Minnesota can do better. We have some examples of quality assurance programs that interview people, find out what's working for them, addresses issues that they're involved with, maybe they're employed but they're unhappy where they're at. This is talked about and alternative…and their team is brought together—all the members of the community that they want to be there and they come up with solutions.
So we need to have every individual with disabilities have access to that type of support. Our current licensing system to protect individuals was designed for institutions and in this instance it even failed. So we need to get people involved in the community and working, living where they want to live, have control of their own housing, and these are the types of things that will help assure quality in the future as we move forward.