Human Services Agency Closing Programs, Putting 65 People Out of Work

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REM Connecticut, which offers day programs and vocational training for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will close its Rocky Hill and Wallingford offices in September.

In a letter last week to the state Department of Labor, the regional director for the agency wrote:

“As you may know, for more than 15 years, REM Connecticut has been providing home-and community-based services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout the state. The past several years have been challenging for many providers, including REM Connecticut, as the state has wrestled with significant budget pressures. The impact on our day and vocational programs has been particularly challenging, as reimbursement levels for transportation services have decreased as the mix and complexity of the individuals we serve has evolved.

“Several other providers have recently announced plans to discontinue vocational services in the region. We view the closure of a program as a last resort, and have engaged in numerous discussions with the Department of Developmental Services to arrive at a solution. Unfortunately, the funding landscape has not improved, and despite efforts by both REM and the Department, it has become clear that the state is not in a position to make the changes required for REM to continue offering day and vocational services.”

The agency, which is part of a for-profit company called The Mentor Network, will continue to provide residential options to disabled adults, but the closure of these two offices will put 65 people out of work, primarily direct care workers who make about $13 an hour.

“It’s a significant problem. We haven’t seen the end of it,” said Deborah Chernoff, spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union local that represents those workers. “This is another symptom of the continued stress on the private non-profit area providing services to people with mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities.”

She said inflation has gone up 7.3 percent over the last five years, at the same time that reimbursements have been held completely flat.

Chernoff said most of these clients are receiving services for their entire lives, and the low pay means staff continuity is disrupted.

She said many of the direct care workers are working double shifts or working lots of weekend shifts to try to make ends meet. “It’s not good for the people they’re taking care of if they’re coming fatigued to the job,” she said.

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21 thoughts on “Human Services Agency Closing Programs, Putting 65 People Out of Work

  1. Gompers

    Ken is right. When will Americans wake up? Wealth creation in America has continued to grow or maintain for almost every year since the 1940s. Yet, wealth distribution has now led to the U.S. Census finding last year that 50% of American families are “working poor” or less economically. The Foleys, Romneys and other corporate crooks are killing the American dream.

    1. DaTroof

      Really? Funny you don’t mention the John Kerry’s or Bill Gates’ or any number of weathly Democrats among the rich.

      Your hero Obama is the king of trickle up poverty. 1 out of 6 are on food stamps. The labor participate rate is at a 30 year low. We are running trillion dollar deficits and our debt is over $16T. We have tens of trillions in unfunded entitlement liabilities and that’s before Obamacare kicks in.

      You turds need to look in the mirror before you blame the 1% on all the problems in this country. Your socialism is showing and its not pretty.

  2. p hofperson

    I am concerned about those out of work but I’m thinking more about those being denyed the services they need. it affects more than just the 65 employees. we are hurting those most in need with what is happening in the state. thanks gov

  3. Rich

    The teaparty narcissists can get away with denying their moral responsibilities to the poor (their own fault, lazy, etc.) but they have no ideological fig leaf to hide behind when it comes to our collective responsibility to the disabled, the sick, and the aged–those who deny such obligations are simply immoral in the literal sense. We need feel no guilt about having a large and complex public sector which is required to handle these problems of collective responsibility, nor should the larger public feel any guilt about taxing them their share of what is required to pay for it. Those who frivolously deny public responsibilities deserve no special consideration of their demands for all-encompassing private liberties…

  4. if i say you will fire me REM EMPLOYEE

    after months of speculation REM finally informed us OFFICIALLY that they will be shutting down in 2 months not only leaving us employees scrambling to now find work BUT the 100 or so participants that we serve with no place to go. These people that we support have a WIDE RANGE of disabilities. Unfortunately the only reason for this closing that has been disclosed to us employees is that the state is no longer reimbursing mileage for transporting clients to and from program!!!!! I call BS!!!! The real reason is a year ago we were ALL tired of all the bogus write ups and wrongful terminations and unfounded abuse allegations leading to suspensions lasting for months at a time without pay therefore a UNION WAS BROUGHT IN!!!! REM IS AGAINST UNIONS ALTOGETHER!!!!! Of course they could never admit to it due to the labor laws but we all know what it is. And the recommendation letter you gave us??? [bleep] I will never tell people I worked here because your REM name is like poison in peoples mouths! Congrats REM!!!! YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS NOT THE PEOPLE YOU SERVE BUT THE MONEY YOU MAKE OFF OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Tiffany

      Does it matter???? I’m gonna be just fine!!! I have always maintained 2 or more jobs! I’m more worries about the people we support, thank u. You must be at the state office…..

  5. Beyond tired of REM

    Ho lee fuk your a [bleeped] for saying that I hope this never happens to you REM only cares about themselves and the money they can make off of the clients to live lavishly while the staff that serve these clients struggle to feed their families

    1. Tiffany

      Apparently nothing. It’s done especially if it has went this far. I wish every single one of my fellow hardworking coworkers the BEST OF LUCK! We had a MAGNIFICENT group! Always a good time with us ;) I hope that all of our participants the BEST as well in their transition. I will miss u allllllllll!!!!! Xoxoxo

  6. Struggling mom

    From the stand point of a mother of a child with a significant learning disability, who will probably one day need a vocational “job”, it saddens me that the people we serve are “victims” of the system! These are all someone’s child, sister, brother ect…REM is not & never will give a [bleep] about these participants. Corporate only sees them as “cash cows” with a dollar signs on each of their heads! How sad that it all boils down to the all-mighty dollar! I often look into their faces & wonder if their next job coach, or even their next agency will care for them & about them the way WE, the staff, all do. REMs’ Mission Statement is nothing but {bleep}!
    Closing down the vocational sites is a shame! For all we invest, is it really such a crime to fight for something better for our families…a little extra pay & better health benefits & a little job security…

    1. REM EMPLOYEE

      If you are going to comment please have something intelligent to say and not say ” bend over and kiss but”. That is a very ignorant and unprofessional thing to say

    2. employee

      I find it very unprofessional and crass that instead of commenting with an intelligent answer …you tell them to kiss ur butt. Obviously that is why you are a direct care professional and only making 13 dollars an hour because you cant talk like a normal person

  7. Employee 2

    …….but this is what we are dealing with here people! Unprofessional is an understatement. The same people that are saying bend over and how’s the union working for you are the same people who were crying just yesterday about losing everything.

  8. jeez..a shocker?!

    Oh wow..yes this is sad, but a shocker?? No Way! do you remember the meetings that were held prior to the Union and when the CEO and others were around? do you rememeber what they said about the union coming in? They said, when asked point blank about the union coming in and how it will effect the big picture of REM CT and the The Mentor Network as a whole, “we will have to do what is fiscally responsible for our company to survive in CT”. CT is a small, minute fraction of what the whole Mentor Network encompasses and brings in financially. Why would you expect them, as a for profit company to hold on to a struggling program? you knew this was going to happen. It was told to everyone from the beginning. Tell the fearless leader who’s daddy is in the Union and thought it would be a great idea that this was point blank told to her when she was attempting to organize the union. If people listened and were smart enough to foresee the future in this field and economy and the shoddy and extremely shady dealings in the way that REM is managed, that this was inevitable. wait for more to come. People should rememeber history repeats itself. Other Mentor Network homes attempted to go union in the past in other states and they let them go. They need to set precedent in the Network around the country that they aren’t BS’ing with unions and using the “economy and mileage” is a way to get rid of the programs. DDS does pay for mileage, its part of contracts. open your eyes. Its sad there will be no more Day Programs at REM but how many area directors are needed, cut 2 and the stop the “we are consulting with the experts in the field” for what $140 and hour? what is a Psychologists consulting fee?? when you have a qualified clinician at the helm? how much time is spent training nurses that just leave? or other therapists? how about the HR that leaves after a year when she stated I do not and will not work in a place with a union. she was out the door! maybe there is no trust in who is running the place, from the state to the workers.. really? look at other programs and how they run.

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