A woman who attended our Light & Power Company ministry, living in a local group home was moved by her case worker to a different group home about 20 miles away. The woman who was moved was very sweet and very connected to a variety of people at church. I have mentioned her in the past in this blog as someone who I could count on to pray for me. Although she had severe intellectual disabilities, we were beginning to teach her to use her gifts of praying which brought her great delight.
When we asked the group home owner why she moved, the response was basically just that her caseworker decided to move her to a different home in another city. I will be attempting to contact the caseworker to inform her that if she was actually interested in the welfare of those she claims to serve, she should take notice of the social supports someone has developed rather than just unilaterally moving someone.
This happened once before to a dear friend who was moved to a different apartment. His caseworker once again just moved him without any effort to interact with his social network in the community or the church. He was cut off from people who loved him and enjoyed being with him. For him to interact with those folks changed from a walk down the street to a long walk to public transportation leading to several hours of travel if he wanted to meet with friends.
If you are a social worker or some other caseworker for persons with disabilities who are attending a church, you should talk to the people in the social network. Persons with intellectual disabilities like my friend who just moved can be very easily led but those who really know them will have a better understanding of their likes and dislikes. The gal who was moved loved going to church, loved the women's activities she participated in as well as the other parties and activities we facilitate with our group. I am confident in her new placement there will none of these options if only because of the somewhat limited opportunities for persons with severe disabilities to attend church. I am confident she will experience the social isolation that comes from living in a typical group home.
This points out potential problems with human services where they can be absolutely out of touch with the social network benefits of church participation. Church participation should actually be a significant aspect of what they are trying to facilitate in the lives of persons with disabilities rather than short circuiting it as was done in this case.