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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

More MDC Residents Moving To Group Homes

A plaque with MDC's mission statement hangs on the wall.
Steve Jess
A plaque with MDC's mission statement hangs on the wall.

Yesterday a panel of state lawmakers heard that 21 of the 52 people currently housed at Montana Developmental Center in Boulder will be moved to group homes around the state over the next seven months.

Lawmakers passed a bill saying most of the 56 people currently at MDC must be transferred to community settings by the end of 2016.

Mary Dalton with the Department of Health and Human Services said the transition must be managed carefully.

“We think that allows it to stabilize both for the clients and for the provider. You don’t really want to transfer out 21 people that have been living in a facility all at once because there is going to be stuff that happens honestly in the community as you do those transitions.”

The bill passed last year mandates the closure of the Boulder facility. But Dalton says an MDC transition advisory committee recommends keeping the center’s Assessment and Stabilization Unit open. She says the 12 beds in that unit are necessary as a last line of defense for people requiring elevated treatment. Building a new facility that could accommodate these special cases would be exponentially more expensive than keeping the Assessment and Stabilization Unit open, Dalton says.

Plans to transfer the remaining patients to group homes are in the works.

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