State Announces Plan to Close Children's Institution
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 28, 2005
NEW ALBANY, INDIANA--On November 21, Indiana Department of Health officials announced plans to close Silvercrest Children's Development Center, a state-run institution housing about 50 children with disabilities.
The announcement came after a study, released by Governor Mitch Daniels' office, which recommended that the facility be closed down because it is too costly, too outdated, and kept children for too long.
While the state has not set a date for closure, plans are in place for many of the children to move out and into community settings over the next three months.
John Dickerson, executive director of the ARC of Indiana, told the Courier and Press that it is time for Silvercrest to close.
"We think that while (Silvercrest) has been a lifesaver for families, we can do better," Dickerson said.
Dickerson wants the state to take the $8 million it currently spends to run Silvercrest and use it for leverage to get federal money for more community-based supports.
"The famous last words are, 'I'm from government, trust me,'" Dickerson said. "Parents are right to be skeptical. But if we have the knowledge of how to do this better, we've got to try to do that."
Parents of several children at the institution are opposed to the decision to close it. The Evansville Courier and Press, which openly supports those parents, pointed out that parent protests kept the state from shuttering Evansville Psychiatric Children's Center in 2002.
"Steps taken to close center" (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Opinion: "Severely Ill Children" (Evansville Courier & Press)