There is a story in the local news that has also made national headlines regarding an individual with developmental disabilities who was in the care of a provider in Fulton. This is an extremely tragic situation, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this young man.
I would like to offer some reassurance to families whose loved ones are living in a group home or ISL (Individualized Supported Living) setting. Boone Supported Living, along with our friends at some wonderful peer agencies across the Columbia area, have systems in place to ensure nothing horrible like that happens at any of our homes.
Our direct care staff, who pour out their hearts to love and care for our individuals, must lay eyes on them during every shift change. Senior management is in and out of homes frequently and meet regularly with those entrusted to our care. Our nurse is in each home weekly and periodically attends appointments with individuals. Service Coordinators from the Central Missouri Regional Office of the Department of Mental Health, who are often unappreciated yet work tirelessly for the people they place with BSL and our fellow providers, visit every month for service monitoring. These visits are also attended by each ISL Manager and our Director of Supported Living. Our CEO is hands-on and attends many of these meetings, plus she stops by the homes occasionally for a visit. She also communicates regularly with our individuals, often by text, sometimes by phone. Even the administrative and executive personnel in our main office see our people when they drop in along with the direct care staff assigned to their care.
The story out of Fulton is an extremely rare exception and not at all the rule. I’m sure I speak for all of our peer agencies when I say that any family member or guardian is welcome to visit at any point in time. The ONLY time they are not allowed access is because a court of law or DMH has determined their presence is detrimental to the well-being of the individual.
We cannot change what happened, but we can offer our sincere assurance that BSL and most other agencies in this field are in it because of a genuine love of helping others. It’s more than a job or a business to us all; we live it and we breathe it every single day.