Alright – so, where do I even start. There are thousands of appeals that go through the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) appeals court annually. They have dozens of judges who decide the fate of so many vulnerable Minnesotans. We do not have to ask Jack or Jane that counties deny, dismiss and disregard autism families, especially communities of color. So, what is DHS and its judges doing about it? Nada, zilch, and nothing.
Commissioner Harpstead decided to ignore minority autism families willingly and purposefully. Under her leadership, more minority autism families have been screwed with than I can remember under any other commissioner. DHS judges are hired by DHS. They are simply lawyers who work for the agency. They are not judges who we can elect and unelect. In other words, they ultimately work for DHS and the commissioner.
I had the displeasure of listening and being dismissed rudely by a recent case. It was a child with both physical and developmental disability that Dakota County denied a developmental disability waiver. Let me explain this further; Dakota county denied a small Somali child born here who has both physical and developmental disability a waiver. Who the heck is supposed to get a waiver then? That is the million-dollar question that no one at DHS, county management, or county commissioners has been able to answer.
This parent and I went to every possible agency and/or person in a position of power and not one single person was able to help this child and family. Think about that for a minute.
We went to the Ombudsman’s office – their response was, go appeal and we can’t go with you. We went to the DHS disability division – their response, go appeal and we can’t help you. We went to the county commissioner – their response was let’s just ignore our voters. We even went to the chair of the health and human service who is a Somali in the House. We are still waiting for a response from him.
So we went to a DHS judge and appealed. First, DHS judge Raymond Wood is assigned to us. He sounded black but the liberal version of Judge Clarence Thomas, where they look like us on the outside but whiter than vanilla on the inside. Then he makes an appointment but never sends the time/date to anyone including the family nor the county. Third, without apologizing for that incompetent mistake, he makes another appointment and denies the family to have an advocate in addition to the Minn Disability Law Center person. Now, what now? yep, that is right. Denying the parent the right to have an advocate present during a hearing is person-centered and culturally responsive to a DHS black judge. How do you like them apples?
After mom keeps asking for me to enter the phone call and support her, he finally calls me and says – what is your name? I am thinking you called – you arrogant ??##@@ – I am not going to tell you my name. How about you tell me who the heck you are first. Who the heck calls someone and then says – what is your name. What world does this judge live in? la la land.
As that was not bad enough, Dakota county’s horrible and heartless gatekeeper – Mary Woodard tells lie after lie after lie. He soaks it all like a sponge. When the person from the disability law center tries to speak and ask mom questions, he immediately shuts her down and silences her. He then lets Ms. Woodard lie even more despite the fact we have emails and information that will cancel her lies. I have never seen anything like this even in law and order television show where things and stories are fake.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it is like to be a white woman. Ms.Woodard denies this child a waiver or another assessment. DHS allows this kind of behavior in publicly funded programs even when a Somali is in charge of DHS and the county’s pockets.
Ugh, this is incredibly frustrating and hurtful.
Adigoo anaga noo eg, in hadana nala ciilo, oo nala cunsiiriyo waa nasiib iyo ayaan darro. Maanta hadii aadan dadkaaga u hiilin, goormaad noo hiilinaysaa? DHS iyo Counties adaa xukuma jeebkooda. Yay na ciilin adoo nool. Yaan ilmo yar oo autistic ah lagu jeestaynin. Yaan hooyo iyo aabo Soomaali ah laga oysiinin adigoo nool. Yaan nalagu dultumanin adigoo nool. Waa in’aad DHS iyo counties dhibaatooyinka an nagu hayaan wax ka qabatid.
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.
Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate