“Drop Your Disabled Kids At a Shelter” Indiana Parents Are Told

I’m kidding right?


“Drop her off at a homeless shelter”: This is indeed what Indiana parents who are no longer able to take care of their adult children with disabilities have been told by workers at the state’s Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services. As reported in the October 28th Associated Press, it’s the budget crisis in the state that has led to this—if you don’t my saying so—heartless suggestion. Parents who’ve been told to leave their children at shelters are waiting on Medicaid waivers that provide support for individuals with developmental disabilities. But:

some families have been on waiting lists for waivers for 10 years. The lists contained more than 20,000 names last month, and one advocacy group predicted they will only grow longer because Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered budget cuts that have eliminated 2,000 waiver slots since July.

Budget cuts also have resulted in the state moving foster children with disabilities to a lower cost program that doesn’t provide services for special needs and eliminating a grocery benefit for hundreds of developmentally disabled adults.

Further, private care providers have ‘suggested — or threatened’ homeless shelters as a (huh?) ‘option’ to parents like Daunna Minnich of Bloomington, whose 18-year-old daughter Sabrina is bipolar and subject to anxiety attacks and who ‘has attempted suicide, run away during home visits and threatened her older sister.’ Home is simply not a ‘viable option’ for Sabrina, and placements suggested are not appropriate for her needs.

Another mother, Becky Holladay of Battle Ground, has had no choice but to have her 22-year-old son, Cameron Dunn, who has epilepsy, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sit in his stepfather’s truck all day while he is at work as a municipal employee. A school nurse, Holladay said that ‘she and her husband would go bankrupt’ if they had to pay for the level of care that Cameron needs, and deserve to have. She says:

“It’s heart-wrenching as a parent to watch it. We are people and they are people,” Holladay said, referring to her son and others with disabilities. “They have lives that are worth something.”

Something she should not have to say!

With the recssion continuing, this does not bode well for adults with disabilities. My son is 13 years old and you can be sure I worry about exactly the sort of things that have happened to Minnich’s and Holladay’s children. So often it feels that we all live one footstep away from something like disaster.

And it sounds like the disaster has already hit Indiana.

Photo by Ed Yourdon.


Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........how truly inhumane!!!!

Carole D.
Carole D.7 years ago

Boy, Anne H has NO idea what the effect of having a disabled child can be.
By the time my daughter was a year old we owed over 90,00.00 in hospital bills ( after insurance)
19 yes later I have never been able to go back to my career A's a landcape architect in any meaningful way, staying home to care for my daughter basically 24/7.
Isn't that enough of a sacrifice, to justify some help from the others who share the planet with us? Isn't that the definition of community?

Anne H.
Anne H7 years ago

This is frightening but perhaps those people feel this is the best choice for the person who needs the care. We don't know the circumstance, for many it may be.

I don't blame the gov't as I don't believe they are responsiible for my doings. This would actually mean my fellow citizens are responsible since taxes fund the government.

I implore you to be more cautious when considering pregnancy. Would you be able to deal with worse case scenario? Have you saved or purchased the appropriate insurances? or have a family who can provide financial or emotional support...for years. I seldom hear this type of forethought yet often hear "we always wanted a baby", "it will complete our family". Selfish reasoning.

Sometimes we must bear the burden of being without child so that the child (and society) does not bear the burden.

Pregnancy is not just reproducing or wanting a child it is producing another human and as much as people say "my child" all of society will be raising that child. Our laws, our schools, infrastructure, our medical raise that child.

If you have a child w/ special needs the government is there. The child is a citizen and deserves rights but the parents/family must still hold the burden.

I've met many people who need the assistance of the government because of their disabilities (two are my relatives). I marvel at the system even if is it flawed, because it exists.

mary a.
mary a7 years ago

That is so inhumane.

Skye R.
Skye R7 years ago

Outrageous. Simply outrageous. Not only is it a very insulting suggestion, homeless shelters are not properly equipped to help care for the severely impaired. They won't be getting the treatments or support that they need. Severely disabled children, no matter their age, should be allowed to stay with their parents in a familiar setting, and the family given financial and medical support for the child.

Marilyn Diane Lee

Are you serious? What is wrong with this state? Have they got a bunch of monkeys running the government? How can you put children or young adults with handicappes in a homeless shelter? These people need round the clock care, in a homeless shelter they will be abused. I have now heard it all, this can't be America, O'Yes, I forgot this is Indiana, a place that is backward and most of it's people uneducated. I think these people have a lot of cows and chickens and they just sit on their porch a hum a lot? A real nothing state. That is probably why they do not know how to handle their poor handicapped individuals when their caregivers can no longer manage their care. What a stupid state!!!!!!!!

Ivy T.
Yvonne Taylor7 years ago

Do not vote for Mitch Daniels today!

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS7 years ago

There's still the basic question of: If these services are to be provided to all needing them, where will the money come from since 1) no one wants to raise taxes, and 2) with the bad economy and more joblessness, the current tax base to support these services is already shrinking?

In theory, it's fine to demand all kinds of services from our government, but we must always remember that the money still has to come from *somewhere*!

Emma Peach
Emma Peach7 years ago

The whole medical system in the states sucks ass... If you're rish you deserve to be healthy and looked after if you average or low income screw you?? yeah way to go look after your own people... what amazes me if the people of the states allow it to continue! For the people by the people? REALLY???? Judge a man by how he treats the least of his brothers... The people who need the most help receive the least! something must change!

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

What an awful scenario!