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Murray Center Parents Association Reports on Effort to Save Facility

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The President of the Murray Parents Association says Community Resource Associates is now at Murray assessing residents that are wards of the state and the few residents whose parents have allowed CRA to look at their files.  

In a letter to be read at the Regional Coalition meeting later this morning, Rita Winkeler says the parents' association continues their fight to keep Murray Center open and funded.  She says as a result of the gracious support and financial donations by the Murray employees, Centralia and surrounding community residents, they are now in the process of working with several attorneys to begin legal action to keep the center open.  Winkeler says Governor Quinn and his staff are turning a deaf ear to all their pleas and concerns regarding this closure.   

Winkeler says over 90-percent of parents have filed legal documents that prohibit CRA from looking into their loved ones records.  She says in the letter to the coalition if the worst possible thing happens and the Murray Center closes, the parents only want to work with the social workers at Murray Center to help them move their loved ones.  Winkeler says if this travesty happens, many of the parents are hoping to keep their loved ones in Centralia and the surrounding communities as the communities have been their home for so many years. 

Winkler notes even though the state has posted on the COGFA website that the planned closure date of Murray Center is October 31st, 2013, she feels it will take a minimum of two years to find appropriate care for their loved ones since these services do not exist in the community at the present time.  

Winkler says they ask the coalition for their continued prayers and support as the months continue.  She notes the Murray Parents know Murray Center is the best possible place for their loved one and they will continue to fight to keep the center open.  

State Department of Human Services spokesperson Januari Smith confirms CRA has had their contract extended for three months to work with Murray Center placement.  They will be paid $150,000 a month.  Smith also says the state has not established a firm date for the closure of Murray Center despite the date on the COGFA website.  

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