Lawmakers discuss Beatrice State Developmental Center

Posted By: Kelsey Murphy

Years ago, cases of neglect and abuse, even death at Beatrice State Developmental Center sparked concern.

State lawmakers want to make sure it never happens again.

"In the later part of the last century BSDC was seen as a role model for how service should be provided, but despite dedicated professionals things at BSDC did go south," says Senator Colby Coash, District 27.

Lawmakers have been working with the center since the start of their problems. They met Thursday to listen to public praise and concern. Different speakers at the hearing stressed the center has made improvements, but is still struggling. A few mentioning a lack of adequate staffing, overtime, retention and size.

For some representatives, it’s more of a debate over quality of life.

Dennis Crawford spoke on the behalf of his brother, a resident at BSDC, “He was treated pretty well over the years. I visited him several times a year and he seems to be happy there,” says Crawford.

“It’s far past time for the state legislature to put a plane in place for the systematic closure. Simply having no front door policy does not address the continued issues that arise,” says Michael Chittenden, executive director of Arc Nebraska.

The center is in the middle of their own investigation to find areas of improvement. Lawmakers plan to discuss plans for the center again this December.