Parents react to son's move from JDC

Published 11/29 2012 06:26PM

Updated 11/30 2012 12:31PM

SPRINGFIELD -- The Jacksonville Developmental Center is now empty. Families of residents fought for years to keep it open, but the state shut it down. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger finds out how families are coping.

Earnest and Shirley Jones say their son is adjusting to life in a community home, much better than they expected. But, they still have some hard feelings for those who put him in this position.

"When they said they were going to close, what were we going to do?"

That phrase pretty much sums up the past 14 months for the Jones'. Their son, Carl, had been a long-term resident at JDC.

Three weeks ago, he was moved to a community home in nearby Ashland.

It was a move the Jones thought was bound for failure, but much to their surprise, "I never dreamed he would have done this well."

"He just grinned and beamed, and, of course, we stayed and had supper with him that night and he was just tickled to see us."

Three weeks in, Carl seems to be adjusting just fine. So, you have to wonder. Have their feelings changed about the state's decision? Not really.

"It's been a joke what they're trying to tell us. And, of course, they kept saying, 'you have to trust us, you have to trust us.' But, they haven't really shown any trust that they haven't really done anything for us."

The Jones' say they had to find Carl's new home on their own, and the state didn't help at all. But, DHS pledged to continue to pay Carl's costs and take care of his needs. These parents say they'll have to take the department's word for it, cautiously.

"I'm much better and I sleep better at night knowing he's well taken care of. We're just praying he'll continue that way."

The governor's office says it's all part of a plan to put residents into community settings. A lot of mental health advocates say that's best for them, plus it would reduce costs for the state. It's estimated supporting a resident at JDC cost $200,000 while a community setting costs $84,000.

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