Thank you for your recent feature, “Flawed system puts disabled adults at risk” (Maine Sunday Telegram, Aug. 20).

As the parent of a woman with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, my heart breaks for families like the Griffins and Landreths, who were featured in your article. However, I think it would be helpful for people to get an understanding of the positive aspects of group homes.

My daughter resides in a Casa group home in Portland, and I have nothing but respect for her caregivers and the agency for which they work. Every day the Casa staffers who work with my daughter exemplify their belief in Casa’s motto, “Everyone has the right to a good life.” The staff at Casa not only meet my daughter’s complex medical needs with dignity, they go above and beyond to enrich her life.

Residential services for adults with disabilities are only as good as the quality of the staff members on the front lines.

Over the past 10 years, the Department of Health and Human Services has made it increasingly difficult for agencies like Casa to recruit good staff. Since 2007, the reimbursement rate for group home services has been cut by 30 percent while costs have risen. In addition, DHHS has never met its obligation to provide emergency crisis beds and staffing. Finally, DHHS has failed to adequately investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation, a topic much in the news during this past week.

In our efforts to hold DHHS accountable, I urge us to avoid painting the caring staff of homes like my daughter’s with the same brush. These staff members deserve not only appropriate compensation for the difficult jobs they do, but the respect of all of us for going the extra mile for adults in our community with disabilities.

Cheryl Lawson