Jenny’s Letter – Text Version
My name is Jenny Hatch. I am 29 years old and I have Down Syndrome. Last year I was placed in a group home. I did not want to be there. I told everyone that I was not happy and did not like it. I just wanted to go home to my friends Jim + Kelly’s. Jewish Family Services was my guardians. [Name removed] was my case worker. She was mean to me. She yelled at me and even hit me. I was not allowed to go to my job at the Thrift Store. I worked there for almost 5 years. I wasn't allowed to have my friends or coworkers visit or even call me. I wasn't allowed to have my cell phone or computer. I felt like a prisoner but I didn't do anything wrong.
I was told I had rights at the group homes. But that wasn't true. JFS [Jewish Family Services] took them away. It was like I didn’t matter. Like I didn’t exist. JFS took away my rights, my choices, my independence. A guardian is supposed to help me reach my goals. Instead I was kept away from my community, my church, and my friends. I kept telling everyone I was unhappy but no one listened to me.
I lost a year of my life being forced to stay in group homes, and forced to work at a job I did not want. How is making that what happened to me, doesn't happen to someone else. Who is making sure that JFS is doing the right thing?
Just because people have a disability does not mean they] need a guardianship. Many times they may need just a little help.