Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

November 6, 2013

Transition a success for SORC resident

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Keeping a closure date of April 30, 2014 for the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center becomes a little bit less set in stone as each day passes where the population remains enough to keep all services going.

However, for some families with children as clients like Bob and Kathy McCartney, the biggest unknown as transitions continue to trickle at a slow pace is what to expect if they don’t move forward with some type of community placement.

Such was the motivation for taking the initiative and while it did take some time for all the pieces to fall into place, the decision for their daughter Jennifer is turning out to be one of the examples as to how the next chapter can be a happy one.

“We were fearful if we didn’t act they’d send her so far away it wouldn’t be convenient to visit her,” said McCartney. “We’ve always been active in Jennifer’s care.”

The McCartney’s experience is a unique one as they had a chance to see their daughter cared for at not just the former Pauls Valley state school, but also for a time at the sister site NORC in Enid going back to when she was about 12 years old.

Described as a leap of faith, they decided the best latest step was to go with DJK Enterprises after first deciding to start the process less than a month after the closure date was announced.

Through it all, they wanted to make sure she stayed as close as possible to where they lived in Fox and it was aided by a local culture that has always been accepting of them in Garvin County. They eventually agreed upon a house with two other clients that spent time with Jennifer at SORC in Wynnewood and since moving there in July, the McCartney’s believed it could not have gone any better.

“These communities have always accepted people like her… that’s another reason we wanted her to stay, said McCartney. “We’re just like every other parent; we wanted to take the initiative to place Jen where we wanted to.”

The McCartney’s pointed out how they had no ill will toward either facility and were thankful for the freedoms afforded to Jennifer with most of their disappointment in how Gov. Mary Fallin handled the forced closure of the two centers. Said disappointment centered on these decisions being made without giving the residents a chance to speak for themselves, which is usually done through appointed advocates as their disabilities like Jennifer’s make it to where they are unable.

“It’s just hard to believe our state would not take care of the handicapped,” said McCartney, adding how the only difference between SORC care and now is a little more freedom to move around and one on one care. “We’re not pushy, not demanding, we just want her to be happy.”

The McCartneys realize it may not be as smooth a transition for everyone and added how in the end they believe their daughter also benefited from a temporary experience when she lived with two other residents in SORC at one of the cottages there. They are happy Jennifer is getting the same 24 hour care she required before and after working at the Willow Tree most days, she is content to go to the park or enjoy the noise from some of her favorite toys.

“We know one lady who made the move for her son after she saw how Jennifer did… Jen has made a real easy transition and you can just tell she is happy and pleased to be here,” said McCartney. “We knew that a more homelike environment worked.”

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