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COFAR Members Kick Off 2004 Legislative Advocacy Season on February 27 at State House

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MANSFIELD, Mass. — Members of the Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates for the Retarded, Inc. (COFAR) will visit the State House on February 27 to continue their battle to preserve the state’s system of care for thousands of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens.

Among COFAR’s actions planned for the day are:

  • Starting at 11:00 a.m., members will visit legislators to provide them with information about COFAR’s proposal for a Village at Fernald. As an alternative to the Governor’s plan to evict the 300 severely and profoundly retarded residents of the Fernald Developmental Center in Waltham, COFAR is proposing that 60 acres of the 190-acre site be set aside for permanent homes for current and future generations of mentally retarded individuals. COAFR is also proposing that land use, facilities, operational and financial plans be developed for the remainder of the site with involvement from and oversight by Waltham City officials, knowledgeable professionals, Fernald parents and guardians, elected and appointed state government officials, neighbors, planners and community advocates.
  • COFAR members will testify before the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, which are holding a joint hearing starting at noon in the Gardner Auditorium on the governor’s fiscal year 2005 state budget proposal. COFAR will urge the Legislature to rescind devastating cuts the governor is proposing in transportation and day programming for mentally retarded persons who are currently not receiving Medicaid services.
  • These cuts, if enacted, will leave close to 800 people who are currently not receiving Medicaid-based services from the Department of Mental Retardation with no place to go. Many of the people who would be affected are cared for at home or live on their own and receive no residential services from the DMR.
  • COFAR will urge lawmakers to support proposed legislation to ensure independent investigations of reports of abuse and neglect within the DMR system. COFAR has long support House Bill 2066, which would transfer investigative resources from the DMR to the independent Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC). COFAR will also urge increased funding for the DPPC, which is approaching the "breaking point," due to budget cuts, in protecting disabled persons from abuse and neglect. (Please see our story on the DPPC in the January edition of The COFAR Voice, which is online at

Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates for the Retarded, Inc.
3 Hodges Street
Mansfield, MA 02048

Contact: Colleen Lutkevich
Phone: 508.339.3379