Reporter: Lauren Compton | Videographer: Daniel Heffner
Richmond, VA - Families with loved ones at facilities like the Central Virginia Training Center have battled to keep the center open. A federal judge in Richmond heard their pleas Friday and took a hard look at the Department of Justice settlement to close the training center.
The six-hour hearing gave family members with loved ones at CVTC an opportunity to plead their case against the DOJ settlement.
The judge ruled in this case this settlement is not only legally complex but emotionally complex. He said some changes need to be made to the settlement to ensure the health and safety of people with severe disabilities.
Here is what these changes are: He says the settlement needs to clearly point out who has the consent to let their loved ones leave the training center and which facilities would be available to them.
He also says family members should be able to keep their loved ones in the training center if they want to.
A lot of these changes were a small victory for family members with loved ones at CVTC. Supporters of community based care say they are ready to bring in training center residents.
"I'm grateful the judge upheld the modification because we did not want this settlement the way it was," said Martha Bryant, a parent.
"What we want is to make sure people have real lives. We've all been preparing for that for a long time regardless of how this went. That hasn't changed our mission, our passion, our goal," said Tonya Fowler, executive director of Arc of Southside
This does not change the fact that the state plans to close four out of the five state training centers, including the center in Amherst County.
The next step in this process is a judge is going to meet with representatives from the Department of Justice on June 29.