BOONEVILLE (KFSM) – Disability Rights Arkansas has issued a report recommending the closure of the Booneville Human Development Center.
The report is titled, “A New Approach to Care in Arkansas: Why the Time Has Come to Close the Booneville Human Development Center.”
From January 2014 to October 2014, Disability Rights Arkansas visited the facility 22 times, the report states. The Arkansas Department of Human Services is in the process of getting state funds to renovate and modernize the Booneville Human Development Center.
The facility has the second-highest operating budget in the state, and due to the age of the Booneville Human Development Center, numerous physical plant issues need to be addressed, according to the report.
In addition to typical problems that come with an aging facility, some of the buildings have floors that are entirely dedicated to storage, and a few buildings have been deemed “unsafe” and have been boarded up completely, the report states.
The above-mentioned problems still exist despite the fact that the state of Arkansas has spent $4,460,850 on “capital improvements” at the center since 2009, according to the report.
A review of data provided by the Booneville Human Development Center from June 2014 to September 2014 shows the number of restraints used as a disciplinary measure occurred much more often than at “any of the other, similarly sized, Arkansas Human Development Centers,” the report states.
Based on those findings, Disability Rights Arkansas recommended the following actions take place:
- The Boonville HDC should be gradually phased out over the next 12 to 18 months.
- Admissions to Boonville HDC should be halted immediately.
- The state should begin the process of moving the majority of the residents into supported living with the community, and, if necessary, all other residents
should be absorbed by the four remaining HDCs.
- The money saved by the closure of the Boonville HDC should be used to strengthen home and community based care throughout the state.
- All unused buildings and portions of buildings at the Boonville HDC that remain used should be immediately sealed off to prevent residents from accessing
- All HDC staff statewide should be retrained in methods to avoid the use of restraints.
- The Department of Human Services should adopt a stricter policy for tracking and monitoring the use of restraints within the HDCs in order to better recognize troubling trends.