Consolidate SSLCs

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission seal

Our Position

We support efforts to consolidate Texas' SSLC system and redirect savings to community services.

The Latest

Sen. Hinojosa filed SB 602 to establish a restructuring commission to evaluate each state supported living center. (Jan. 25)

Background

State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs) are state run institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The SSLC system, administered by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), includes 13 centers around the state with a total resident population around 3,100. These institutions are very expensive and currently under a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit settlement for systemic abuse, neglect, and exploitation. From January to June 2016, the Office of the Independent Ombudsman for SSLCs reviewed 1,693 unusual incidents, defined by DADS as "event or situation that seriously threatens the health, safety or life of individuals" (source: Office of the Independent Ombudsman for SSLCs).

The SSLC system was reviewed by the Texas Sunset Commission in 2014. Sunset's report on DADS recommended closing the Austin SSLC and establishing a closure commission to evaluate and decide on five other SSLCs to close. That may seem like a big reduction, but the fact is that the population has been declining for years and costs continue to skyrocket (see graph below, source: Legislative Budget Board). Meanwhile, waiting lists to receive services in community settings continue to grow.

Graph titled State Supported Living Centers' Average Monthly Census and All Funds Appropriations Fiscal Years 2005-2015. The Census line starts at 5,000 in 2005 and ends near 3,000 in 2015. The Appropriations line begins around $400 million in 2005 and ends around $700 million in 2015.

Sunset recommended that current residents should be transitioned to a community placement, if they chose to do so, or to another SSLC. CTD adds that money saved from closures should be redirected to community services to address the growing waiting lists for such services. We continue to support:

DADS Issue Recommendation 1

DADS Issue Recommendation 2

The 84th Texas Legislature had an opportunity to act on these recommendations, but did not pass SB 204, Sunset Legislation for the Department of Aging and Disability Services.


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Further Reading

@TXDisabilities