Virginia center for intellectually disabled officially closed - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Virginia center for intellectually disabled officially closed

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DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) -

A home for the intellectually disabled in Virginia is now closed.  It's been a two year process for the Southside Virginia Training Center in Dinwiddie County.

Hundreds of employees have transferred to other jobs or retired and hundreds of people with intellectual disabilities have been moved to other homes that cater to their needs.

Some of the cottages where people lived have already been boarded up and the last few individuals were transferred to their community programs Wednesday morning.

NBC12 got an inside look at the space that served as living quarters for hundreds of people living with intellectual disabilities.  All that's left, are employees who are cleaning and packing up.

"We wanted to come and tell these folks goodbye and to thank them for all they've done," says Margie Tuck. Her son called SVTC home for forty years.  The Tucks say he lives with severe brain damage.

"If you just saw a picture of him you would just think he's just a regular guy but he does have to have 24 hour care," she said.

Their son is one of the many patients who transferred to community based services.  For the most part, the homes house fewer than six people living with intellectual disabilities.  The Tucks say the new set-up has its challenges, however their son is doing well, but only time will tell.

"When we give you a basis of how he's doing and all; we're basing here on 40 years and we're basing there on a year and a half so we don't know what it will be like 10 years down the road," says Bobby Tuck, Margie's husband.

The facility is the first to close in the Commonwealth after an investigation found Virginia violated federal law by institutionalizing individuals.  Transitioning people and former employees has been a two year process.

"Everybody is tired and ready to move on," says Bill Hawkins, the SVTC facility director.  Hawkins says individuals went through a 12-week process to find suitable new homes.  "They've moved into communities where they're originally from, where their families are and so it's been very successful."

The Northern Virginia Training Center will be the next to close, followed by the Southwest Virginia Training Center and Central Virginia Training Center. The center in Chesapeake is the only center that will stay open.

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