This deeply troubling yet inspiring memoir recounts the appalling abuse of people with intellectual disabilities and the anguish of their families. When Sharon Flanagan-Hyde’s sister, Mary Jean, was diagnosed with severe mental retardation in 1962, doctors said to put defective children in an institution and forget they were ever born.
Mary Jean was sent away as a toddler, but she was not forgotten. Decades of witnessing maltreatment and horrific conditions at Belchertown State School devastated the entire family. Mary Jean finally found a safe home, but shocking neglect and abuse continue throughout the United States.
In her role as a consultant, Sharon was asked by the Arizona Governor’s Office to facilitate a task force convened in the aftermath of the shocking rape of a severely incapacitated young woman and unexpected birth of her baby boy at Hacienda HealthCare, a Phoenix intermediate care facility.
This book calls for public policy changes to ensure safe and compassionate care for all vulnerable people.