Havre Daily News - News you can use

Letter to the Editor: Montana Developmental Center can be turned around


March 31, 2015


The Montana Senate last week voted to close Montana Developmental Center in Boulder, largely reacting to hysteria generated by Disability Rights Montana, the decision is wrong for several reasons, including the fact that a number of clients can safely be placed in no other Montana institution, and it will devastate Boulder and Jefferson County economically and socially.

The complaint is that the culture at MDC will never change. It can change, and the reason that I say this is that I saw it happen myself at another institution, much like MDC, called Hillside Children's Center in Rochester, N.Y.

It had been having problems like MDC has now. It had a creepy, "zookeeperish" culture among the staff. But in 1978, consultants, in the form of key leaders from other similar institutions, that had a reputation for "doing things right" were brought in, some for several weeks. I don't know what happened at the administrative level, but as staff we were taught several skills, including active listening, a variety of de-escalation techniques, coaching, goal-setting and other kinds of support, and also restraint techniques. Lots of role playing, until they were sure that everyone knew how to do things right. We lost a few staff who couldn't, or wouldn't, get it right.

The change in six weeks was amazing: It now felt like a family setting. Restraint incidents went way down. In the year that I worked there, I had to initiate zero restraints, and assisted in only one, and that was such a mild event that no one was even worked up when it was over. So, yes, cultures can be changed.

Skip Kildore



Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017