No word so far on how state's budget will impact Hab Center

Friday, January 8, 2010

Missouri's bad economic news has prompted speculation on the future of the Nevada Habilitation Center. Superintendent Chris Baker said such speculation is not unusual, but also is not reliable.

"There's always been a lot of rumors about this place," Baker said. "I plan to retire from here and that's still a long way off. We're not closing and we're not selling Benton Hall."

Baker said he had read an Associated Press article about the Missouri state budget that speculated that Governor Jay Nixon would have to cut an additional $200 million from the budget but that he had not heard anything official.

"I'm just like everyone else in the state," Baker said. "We're all just waiting to see what the legislature does. We're watching our spending and hoping that everyone gets a job and starts spending lots of money."

Concerns about a change in policy concerning the unlocking of one of the units focused on the type of client residing there. A few weeks ago a reader of the Daily Mail brought his concerns over the policy change to the newsroom. At that time Baker was contacted.

Baker said that the unit had not housed any clients whose condition required the locked unit and that changing the designation allowed the unit to fall under the same Title XIX guidelines as the majority of the facility.

"It's not really about the funding," Baker said. "We haven't had any clients who are court ordered to be in a locked unit for a long time. This just brings the unit in line with the rest of the facility."

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