* These pages constitute a repository of recent historical information and no longer concern an active suit.

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Avert Rolland Tragedy - Fighting Against De-institutionalization  of the residents of the Seven Hills Pediatric Center
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Statement by Seven Hills at Groton Families Regarding the
Rolland v. Patrick Settlement Agreement

The families of the residents of Seven Hills at Groton Pediatric Center whose members have signed this statement wish to oppose in the most forceful of terms the application to their loved ones of the Rolland v. Patrick Legal Settlement of May, 2008 (approved by Federal Magistrate Judge Kenneth Neiman in his Order and Memorandum of June 16, 2008).

a. We declare that the belief that all adults with mental retardation are better off “living in the community,” where “in the community” is defined so as to exclude the Seven Hills at Groton nursing home, is based on ignorance and on reckless adherence to an ideology that is benevolent in origin and has merit in other circumstances but that is beyond its scope of reasonable application in the case of the Seven Hills at Groton population. All Seven Hills at Groton residents suffer from profound cognitive impairment and require extensive medical attention, as attested by individual Medical Review Team screening processes. Most if not all Seven Hills at Groton residents can benefit from enriched programming but are not cognitively capable of benefiting from living in smaller group settings. Most if not all Seven Hills at Groton residents would be medically endangered by placement in smaller homes given existing funding levels and the levels of medical care that those funding levels make possible in small scale settings.

b.The provisional determination by the Department of Mental Retardation that a large number (31) of Seven Hills at Groton residents are candidates for being moved “into the community” has shattered our confidence that a decision on our children’s futures can safely be placed in the hands of that Department.

c. We protest in the strongest terms the behavior of those officials of the Commonwealth who have forced upon our families the painful responsibility for explaining the degree of cognitive and medical impairment of our loved ones to the public in order to protect them from harm.

d. We consider Governor Patrick’s agreement to the settlement to be a violation of the basic human rights of the residents and their guardians. Rather than commit the state to achieving the best feasible quality of care for each resident, this settlement agreement commits the state to moving a pre-specified number of class members each year over a four year period, and it thus treats them as objects to be moved around in fulfillment of a quota (160 individuals out of a total of 800 that includes 51 of our loved ones, must be moved each year to fulfill the settlement agreement’s terms). Our group will seek legal and political remedies to remove this threat to their loved ones’ well-being and survival.

e. We protest the inclusion of Seven Hills at Groton residents in the category known as the Rolland plaintiff class. We declare that the attorneys for the Rolland plaintiff class have usurped our right to represent our loved ones. We declare that they do not speak for our loved ones or for us. We are astonished by laws that fail to give members of a plaintiff class the right to withdraw from that class.

f. We will not accept from the Commonwealth the excuse that the settlement was forced upon it by the Federal courts. The record of the court proceedings, proceedings also directly witnessed by some members of our group, shows that the Commonwealth was a willing party to the settlement and argued strongly in its favor at the “fairness hearing” on May 22, 2008.

g. Despite approval of the settlement agreement by a Federal judge, it is incumbent upon officials of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to find a way to protect our families from this misapplied agreement. Supporting our motion that they be decertified from inclusion in the Rolland Plaintiff Class is one step that the state can still take at the time of this declaration. We will work with state departments and attorneys to find other approaches if necessary.

h. We, and not the state or courts, are the spokespersons for our loved ones who reside at Seven Hills at Groton and who are unable to speak for themselves. We have the right to seek out the best feasible care for them. We are open to being informed of alternatives to continued care at Seven Hills at Groton. We oppose having our loved ones forced to leave the facility if that is against our best judgments.

i. We declare that we will help every individual family and guardian of Seven Hills at Groton residents to protect their right to choose the kind of environment in which that person resides. In the event that steps are taken to move a resident against a family or guardian’s wishes, we will work against this as a group using all legal, political, and public channels available to us.

j. Should such a movement actually take place, we will undertake to monitor closely the outcome and to hold each and every official who is involved personally accountable for that outcome before the court of public opinion and the law.

Approved by Family Council of Seven Hills Pediatric Center at Groton on June 19, 2008. A list of individual family signers is being compiled.

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© 2008-2013 Seven Hills Pediatric Center Family Council
* These pages constitute a repository of recent historical information and no longer concern an active suit.