It Took Abandonment in Tennesee to Get State Help for Algonquin Young Adult with Development Disabilities
Yesterday I heard a brief story on WBBM radio that said Tennessee had passed a bill that would make abandonment of an adult child with developmental disabilities a felony.
I’ve searched for reference to the legislation, but cannot find anything.
Coincidentally attorney William Choslovsky had an opt-ed piece published in the Chicago Tribune.
I asked for and was granted permission to publish his unedited submission. It is below.
Tomorrow, I’ll share some thoughts on the subject and some of Choslovsky’s views that came out in an over hour conversation on the subject.
Condemning a Mother or a System?
At wits end and unable to obtain services in Illinois, Eva Cameron abandoned her 19 year old severely disabled daughter in a Tennessee bar last month. Cameron was much criticized, if not condemned. After all, what kind of mother would do such a thing?
Perhaps one who tried for years — and waited patiently — for services to help her child. Any services. Services the law requires the state to provide. Services that never come, despite promises and waiting lists.
In Illinois there are more than 10,000, maybe close to 20,000, Eva Cameron’s waiting for help for their child. Some of the Eva Cameron’s are old, in their 80′s, having cared for their profoundly retarded child in their homes for more than 50 years.
With no help.
In some cases, these mothers are essentially caring for an infant for 50 years. Afraid to die for only one reason: because they fear what will become of their “child.” Tick tock.
Frankly, Eva’s strategy was successful.
When her daughter was returned to Illinois, she was deemed “abandoned” and considered to be in “crisis.”
You see, once in “crisis,” then you may actually get services in Illinois.
And Eva’s daughter has now gotten services in Illinois at an unnamed “residential facility.”
It only took abandoning her in a bar 500 miles away.
To be sure, Eva is probably not blameless, but what do we as a society, as a culture, take from this?
Most only throw daggers at Eva.
State bureaucrats, rather than looking inward and acknowledging a broke, underfunded system, instead seek to punish Eva.
In commenting on the case, an official said that the state hopes to “hold the mother accountable.”
But kind of telling, only when Eva abandoned her daughter 500 miles away was the state held accountable.
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William Choslovsky, a Chicago lawyer who has worked pro bono on disability cases, has a profoundly retarded sister who resides at Misericordia.