NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Parents were racing against the clock Tuesday to keep their children with disabilities safe as the state plans to pull them from their current care facilities.
As CBS2 first reported, it’s a challenge facing New Jersey families, but now one family in New York is facing the same painful dilemma.
The state wants to move Cheryl Lloyd’s 22-year-old son from his current facility, but his mother said the new place is just plain dangerous.
“There is no way they’re going to bring my son here,” Lloyd told CBS2’s Jessica Schneider.
Lloyd said she is devastated by the trash-littered, run-down apartment in East New York, Brooklyn, the state says her 22-year-old autistic son must move to from his current care facility just south of Boston.
“The pain is so great because my son deserves better than this,” she said.
Christopher Linton went to live at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Massachusetts when he was just 8 years old because the state didn’t have adequate facilities for him and the more than 400 others with similar disabilities in New York.
In 2012, the state began yanking those now-adults back, putting them in what the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities calls “appropriate community-based settings,” Schneider reported.
“For them to offer a place like this, they’re not living up to their responsibility,” Lloyd said.
Time is of the essence for Lloyd and her son. A letter from the state informed her that Christopher could be sent to the new location as soon as Thursday. As of Tuesday night, she had still not received any answers.
The state told CBS2 the building they want to send Christopher to is under renovation and provided pictures of the inside.
Lloyd is now working with lawmakers like Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would give the parents a hearing before a judge and a chance to keep their children where they are.
“The very least we can do as a state is say give them due process, give them an impartial hearing,” Jaffee said.
“I’m pretty sure that if he had a child with special needs in the same situation, he would want that same consideration, too,” Lloyd said.
Gov. Cuomo’s staff said the bill is under his review.
But for parents like Lloyd, the uncertainty is unbearable.
“It’s very frustrating. It’s a nightmare for me every day,” she said.
It’s a nightmare she hopes doesn’t end with her son moving to East New York.
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