Governor Blunt says he still favors closing the Bellefontaine Habilitation Center in St. Louis, though he will wait to see what his Missouri Mental Health Task Force eventually recommends. A group of families with relatives at the center opposes the proposal. A member of the Bellefontaine Habilitation Family Support Association, Mike Brophy, has a severely mentally retarded brother at Bellefontaine, 50-year-old Timothy Brophy. Mike Brophy says he fears that if Bellefontaine closes, his brother will be moved to a private facility that will not be able to handle his severe symptoms. Brophy says he doesn’t trust private homes. Brophy says Bellefontaine has gotten a bad rap since the death of patient George Holmes in 2004. He says he trusts the home and says that instead of closing it, problems should be corrected. Brophy also is critical of Blunt for rebuffing attempts by Bellefontaine supporters to speak with him. Blunt says the Missouri Habilitation Center Family Support Association requested a meeting at the Capitol when his schedule was full. Blunt tells the Missourinet he’s willing to meet with anyone who wants to have a reasonable conversation about what is best for the clients of Bellefontaine. He says his office is trying to make it known to the group that he is willing to talk with them. While Blunt says he’s open to alternative suggestions, he still believes abuse at Bellefontaine has been so severe, it should be closed.
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