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Redfield center could be topic for legislative study

PIERRE -- The Legislature's Executive Board will be asked to establish a broad task force regarding future roles for the South Dakota Developmental Center at Redfield.

The recommendation for the task force came Monday from the Legislature's special committee that has been reviewing the state Department of Human Services.

Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, proposed the task force as an avenue for the Legislature to be involved in setting the policy for the department's uses of the Redfield institution.

She suggested the task force members include legislators, state officials who are involved in services for the developmentally disabled and in the administration of the center, and consumers of services for the developmentally disabled.

Her plan calls for the task force to deliver its recommendations and findings to the Legislature for the 2014 session.

"I'm looking at this as health-care policy," Hunhoff said.

Several members of the review committee spoke in praise of Hunhoff's concept. Another benefit is more information would become available for analysis as part of the Legislature's budgeting process, said Rep. Jim White, R-Huron.

The Redfield center's mission currently is defined in state law that's been in place since 2000.

The law says the center may provide on-site and off-site supports and services, including additional ones to promote the self-direction of a person with a developmental disability, and to enhance a person with a developmental disability to live in the least restrictive environment.

The final sentence of the definition states that the center's mission is to provide assistance on-site "only when suitable community services and supports are not available."

The current population at the Redfield center is 138, administrator Ted Williams said.