History of the Campaign
In 2014 the UCEDD joined with Disability Rights Connecticut (successor entity to Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities) to begin the 2020 Campaign, focused on closing Southbury Training School and the regional centers by the year 2020. In 2015, this effort included legislative briefings and a full report to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) outlining a plan to close these facilities. The 2020 Campaign also held informational briefings with parents and self-advocates during 2015-16.
In 2017 the DD Network, in Partnership with CT Public Television, produced a one-hour film called Building a Great Life. The video provides an overview of the issues in closing Southbury and the possibilities and benefits of community living. The video also features many national leaders in the disability movement, including Andy Imparato, Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD).
Building a Great Life Conference
In 2018 the UCEDD took the lead in planning and implementing a conference titled Building a Great Life, which focused on mobilizing parents, self-advocates, and service providers to develop community services and lead Connecticut’s efforts to close Southbury and the Regional Centers. Over 400 people attended the conference.
A DD Network initiative, this campaign is focused on educating new legislators and continuing the dialogue with policymakers to address over 200 people on the DSS waiting list for community living. With the population of Southbury now at fewer then 20 individuals, the per costs have skyrocketed to over $500 per person a day. Clearly part of the discussion continues to focus on closing Southbury and keeping the savings from that closure within the DDS budget (rather than returning those dollars to the state's general fund) so that DDS could begin to address the waiting list.