Jenny Hatch has proved that it’s not just ‘over the rainbow’ that dreams come true. I first wrote about her legal kidnapping when she was sent to live in a group home, rather than with her friends as she wished. She’s now founded her own website to help others achieve an independent life, chosen by themselves.
In a landmark case that’s likely to change the fate of many people living with disabilities, Jenny won the right to decide what was best for herself. It was a legal battle royale with her legal guardian to decide where and with whom she should live but Jenny emerged triumphant. Like Dorothy in Oz she returned to her friends, job, and chosen community.
Before her victory came her journey down the yellow brick road.
April 2008 – Jenny begins work at Village Thrift, run by Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert
Late 2011 – Jenny has moved out of her parent’s home and is living with friends
March 2012 – Jenny has a serious bike accident and is hospitalized, moves in with Kelly and Jim
May 2012 – moves into group home to qualify for medicaid she requires to get well, can qualify for it no other way
August 2012 – moves back in with Kelly and Jim, her mother and stepfather apply for guardianship as they feel Jenny should stay in a group home that is outside her community and far away from her work. Judge awards guardianship to Jenny’s parents.
August 2013 – Judge revokes guardianship and Jenny is free to make her own life choices!
When a legal guardian disagrees with what a person wants it is easy to lose a person-centered focus. Which is where the Jenny Hatch Justice Project comes in. Jenny and partners are sharing her story, advice, and resources to help others live a life chosen by themselves.
In every generation there are born leaders. People who change the course of history, lead revolutions, and change the way we live. Jenny Hatch is just such a woman. With a legal precedent set, it will now be easier for people to be recognized as legally capable decision makers.
One’s home is worth fighting for. After all, there’s no place like it!