The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 28, 2014

Closing of NORCE could take place much sooner

ENID, Okla. — It appears the closure of Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid could come earlier than expected.

As it stands, NORCE, one of two state institutions to care for developmentally disabled clients, is to be closed by August 2015 — more than a year from now. But, as the number of clients at NORCE continues to fall, there is the chance the facility could be closed before the end of the year.

Families and guardians of NORCE clients have been working to find places for their loved ones to stay, most often in community group homes. Now, there are only 30 clients remaining at NORCE.

One reason given for closing NORCE and Southern Oklahoma Resource Center is to save the state money. SORC is supposed to close by April 30.

We don’t see the Legislature doing anything to change the situation. There was talk before the session of lawmakers — mostly the Enid contingent — trying to come up with legislation to keep at least NORCE open. But, given Gov. Mary Fallin’s insistence on closing both facilities, we believe it’s time to admit there will be no chance of keeping NORCE open.

And, once there are no more clients at the facility, there really would be no reason to keep it open.

Kevan Goff-Parker, spokeswoman for Department of Human Service’s Developmentally Disabled Services Division, has said, though, there is no close date for NORCE and the facility will not close until all clients have a place to live.

There also is another round of buyouts to reduce the number of staff members at NORCE.

It’s sad, especially given all the work done by many people to keep NORCE open, but it appears the countdown for closure is entering the final stage.

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