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