More than 100 people squeezed into a room at the Aspire facility in Cheektowaga, looking for answers. Their questions focus on the future of their children, most living with an adult developmental disorder, and when or if they could be placed in a more permanent living situation.
Sharon Ryba came to the meeting with questions about Cindy, her 56 year old sister-in-law, who is taken care of by Ryba's older sister-in-law.
“Her mentality is somewhere between a six and seven year old. So, us being alive and transitioning is ideal,” explained Ryba.
Ryba’s family has been waiting for a suitable state-run home for Cindy for years.
“We're not on ‘a list,’ we're just kind of hanging there,” said Ryba.
Ryba says her family is worried about waiting even longer.
“We've been blessed that someone has stepped up to take her for this length of time and we are getting older and we all have our own health issues. So, something needs to be done,” added Ryba.
That something may come from one local lawyer.
“The list is getting longer. The state isn't dealing with the problem and they're kicking the can down the road,” said Bruce Goldstein, with Kenney, Shelton, Liptak, Nowak LLP.
Goldstein is now suing the state. The hope is to force the state to transition more adults with disabilities out of family care and into appropriate living situations.
“Parents aren't going to live forever. And parents want to know that they are part of the solution and helping their children transition to another residential situation,” said Goldstein.
For these families, a lawsuit is just the beginning. But, until they're confident their children will be taken care of, their questions will continue.