JANUARY 27, 1997

 The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Children's Country House a blessing for many

Children's Country House In response to Lisa Albright's unfounded accusations regarding Children's Country House: I am assuming her cruel remarks are based on her ignorance and lack of experience with children who have special health care needs, or perhaps old-fashioned fear.
   I am a pediatric home care nurse who has been working with children with medically fragile needs for years. It is a crime that our society has been so behind in addressing and supporting the special issues these children and their families deal with daily.
   It is no secret that budget cuts are continuing to whittle away at remaining supports, while modern medical advances continue to prolong lives which are dependent on medical interventions. Those of us in the position to care for these children and their families are forever looking at new options or directions.
   Children's Country House is a true blessing for many people. There are children living in the hospital setting and adult nursing homes because there is no other place for them. There are families in desperate need of respite care. It is much more cost-effective to provide skilled care in a group home than in an institution. It also makes sense to support families so they continue to care for their children.
   Ms. Albright repeatedly called Children Country House a "facility." I believe it to be a "home." These children and their families have the same hopes and dreams the rest of us have. What is wrong with wanting a comfortable home, quiet neighborhood, and supportive community?
   Ms. Albright also stated no one in the neighborhood or community was in support of the home. On the contrary, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
   The children who will receive care at Children's Country House pose no threat to the community. These are precious children whose lives have been drastically altered forever. They are not social deviants; they are children who are totally dependent on medical interventions.
   It is quite obvious I am in full support of Children's Country House. It is also important to note I have a foster child with special health care needs. She may one day need the services offered by Children's Country House.
   Ms. Albright needs to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. She is more than welcome to join me for a day in the life of a child with medically fragile needs.

Linda Wright-Rathke, RN