A message from Commissioner Alison G. Land, FACHE
Today was a day for the ages at Central Virginia Training Center.
Central Virginia Training Center (CVTC) opened in 1910 in Amherst County as the Virginia State Epileptic Colony. The number of people behind its walls continued to climb for decades. As Virginia’s community system of services for people with developmental disabilities grew and improved, CVTC’s population decreased. Since its census peak of 3,686 individuals in 1972, CVTC’s population fell over 90 percent (to 357) by 2012 when Virginia announced that CVTC would be closed and residents would move to new homes that were integrated into local communities.
“Today, the last resident left CVTC, marking not only the last day of service provision for CVTC, but also the culmination of almost nine years of enormously hard work transitioning individuals from four of Virginia’s five training centers. From Southside Virginia Training Center, Northern Virginia Training Center, Southwestern Virginia Training Center, and now CVTC, nearly 900 people moved to new homes based on their choice and preferences.”
While it has understandably been a process of concern for some, over the years, families saw what can be done to support their loved one in new ways and to experience life in the community, and they saw their loved one grow and flourish in their new homes.
But this shift in care relied heavily on a strong partnership among families, training center staff, community services boards and private providers to ensure individuals have all essential supports in place for a successful life in the community. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of this historic process.
Most of all, thank you to training center staff and to the Central Office staff who have been pushed by the core belief that people with even severe disabilities have more fulfillment and opportunities when they are offered the least restrictive and most integrated life possible. You provided excellent care for the individuals you served. You tirelessly gave your energy and your strength to make this happen, and words cannot be expressed to show our profound gratitude.
“Today marks over a century’s worth of change that didn’t happen nearly fast enough. In that time, CVTC witnessed over 100 years of shifts in services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities, from overcrowded institutions, to the dark days of eugenics, to the rise of customized, quality community settings. We still have more to build to expand and strengthen community services, but today reminds us that Virginians with developmental disabilities have a brighter future ahead.”
Commissioner Alison G. Land, FACHE