March 22, 2016


State Advocacy Group Responds to Reforms Planned at Arkansas Human Development Center

Little Rock, AR – Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA) issued the following statement in response to the Arkansas Department of Human Service Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) release issued March 21, 2016 entitled, “Center Review to result in Policy Changes, More Monitoring at Human Development Center.”  The response comes as a result of Disability Rights Arkansas releasing a report in January 2016 highlighting the excessive use of restraints at the Booneville Human Development Center (Booneville HDC).

Disability Rights Arkansas appreciates that DDS convened a team of experienced clinicians to review behavioral interventions at the Booneville HDC.  The review and recommendations are a positive step to ensure that residents of the facility are receiving appropriate treatment in a safe and positive environment.   DRA remains optimistic that the state will implement the recommendations.

However, DRA must note that the issues highlighted in January 2015 and 2016 were also raised by DDS’s Consultants in 2012.  The recommendations contained in the 2012 report are very similar to those proposed by DRA, and include:

  • Review and Evaluation of the role and responsibility of the Human Rights Committee
  • Implementation of Positive Behavior Support Plans
  • Training for staff to incorporate the teaching of adaptive replacement behaviors
  • Training to improve and enhance competencies in working with residents at the Center

DRA remains concerned about the safety and well-being of the residents at Booneville HDC and whether the steps currently proposed by DDS will be adequate to address the problems at the facility.  DRA will continue to monitor and review the restraint practices at the Booneville HDC to ensure that the recommendations proposed by state are implemented within the timeframe proposed and to ensure their adequacy in providing effective and appropriate active treatment for the HDC’s residents.


DISABILITY RIGHTS ARKANSAS (DRA) is a private, nonprofit agency designated by the Governor to implement the protection and advocacy system for persons with disabilities in Arkansas.