Reporter: Sally Delta
Amherst Co., VA - Supporters of Virginia Training Centers are in good spirits - and rightfully so. Wednesday, a federal judge granted their motion to intervene in the lawsuit between the Department of Justice and the Commonwealth.
The feds want to close training centers, and move residents to community-based care. But the judge's ruling could really change things.
The judge did two things: He granted the relatives' motion to intervene, meaning the parents and guardians are now involved in this case. And, deemed their motion to dismiss as being "filed." So, that will become part of this process - good news for those who say CVTC is a great place for their loved ones.
Martha Bryant has twin sons that have lived at CVTC for 15 years.
"This is severe disability. It's not Forrest Gump. It's the most disabled," said Bryant.
The most disabled who, Bryant says, need the most care. Because without it, Bryant says, "he could die without that care. It's very simple. This is life or death."
Bryant's son Tyler, she says, is a frequent flyer to the ER and wouldn't survive in community-based care.
"He thrives at the training center. He's got a 24/7 physician there, an ambulance there and even then sometimes we have to go to the ER," said Bryant.
In a six page order released Wednesday, the judge made it clear that parents and guardians have a federally protected right to receive the care of their choice.
"I was very impressed that he said a voiceless vulnerable population is excluded from decision making, so by granting the intervention, he's giving a voice to our loved ones," said Bryant.
"This, I think, was a victory for the clients and a victory for the parents. But there's still a ways to go, and my hope is that we will preserve the states' rights and give parents more options in this process when the final ruling comes out," said Sen. Steve Newman, (R) 23rd District.
The judge gave the feds and state the option to dismiss the case. They were given 10 days to respond. But Senator Newman believes that a dismissal is highly unlikely.