VIRGINIA WOMAN WITH DOWN SYNDROME IN LEGAL BATTLE WITH PARENTS FIGHTING TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY INSTEAD OF IN A GROUP HOME

Legal struggle: Margaret Jean Hatch, 29, of Virginia, right, is wrapped up in an intense legal battle with her parents, left and center, as she seeks the right to live independently against their wishes

Landmark legal battle as woman with Down Syndrome seeks to live independently and overturn her parents’ decision to put her in a home

By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 22 July 2013

A Virginia woman with Down syndrome is wrapped up in an intense legal battle with her parents as she seeks the right to live independently against their wishes.

Margaret Jean Hatch, 29, recently told a Newport News courtroom ‘I don’t need guardianship. I don’t want it,’ cutting the judge off mid-sentence.

‘Remove her from the courtroom,’ the judge then commanded.

 
Legal struggle: Margaret Jean Hatch, 29, of Virginia, right, is wrapped up in an intense legal battle with her parents, left and center, as she seeks the right to live independently against their wishesLegal struggle: Margaret Jean Hatch, 29, of Virginia, right, is wrapped up in an intense legal battle with her parents, left and center, as she seeks the right to live independently against their wishes

 

 
Seeking independence: Hatch, known as 'Jenny' to those close to her, says she wants to move in with her friends and carry on with the life she was living, working at a thrift shop and riding her bikeSeeking independence: Hatch, known as ‘Jenny’ to those close to her, says she wants to move in with her friends and carry on with the life she was living, working at a thrift shop and riding her bike

It was a trying day for both sides.

Hatch, known as ’Jenny’ to those close to her, says she wants to move in with her friends and carry on with the life she was living, working at a thrift shop and riding her bike .

But her parents want her to remain in a group home under supervision, the Washington Post reports.

Her legal case began in August, 2012, and is ongoing.

Her struggle has captured the attention of national advocacy groups and residents in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, who have shown Hatch their support through the mantra ‘Justice for Jenny.’

The case, on a larger level, reflects how the rights of adults with disabilities are often tested when it comes to their desire to live independently, according to the Post.

 
Hatch has Down syndrome, an IQ of 52 and a tendency to shower her affection on both strangers and friends alikeHatch has Down syndrome, an IQ of 52 and a tendency to shower her affection on both strangers and friends alike

 

Hatch has Down syndrome, an IQ of 52 and a tendency to shower her affection on both strangers and friends alike.

According to court records, she enjoys hanging out at the Republican headquarters near her job, participating in Special Olympics, attending church and watching Rachel Ray.

 Court records also reveal a contentious relationship between the petite blonde and her mother, Julia Ross, who reportedly suffers from health problems.

When asked if she would allow her daughter to move back in if the family had assistance, Mrs Ross said, ‘No, ma’am. Jenny told me that she does not want to have anything to do with me,’ according to the case manager.

 
'Justice for Jenny': Hatch's struggle has captured the attention of national advocacy groups and residents in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, who have shown Hatch their support through the mantra 'Justice for Jenny'‘Justice for Jenny’: Hatch’s struggle has captured the attention of national advocacy groups and residents in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, who have shown Hatch their support through the mantra ‘Justice for Jenny’

 

Though Hatch is described as having ‘good survival skills,’ she is also described as somebody who hugs and kisses people she doesn’t know well and somebody who lacks the rudimentary math skills needed to calculate how much change she should receive when she makes a purchase.

Hatch has run away from group homes on more than one occasion, court records show.

While living in a group home in Hampton, Virginia, she reportedly took a trip by herself to the zoo and the beach.

A supervisor at the group home described Hatch as ‘adored by all who know her,’ but also stated that the group home was not a good fit for her, according to documents submitted to the court.

The group home is designed for ‘individuals who are not as advanced and acclimated as Jenny,’ the supervisor said.

 
Escaping supervised living: Hatch has run away from group homes on more than one occasion, court records showEscaping supervised living: Hatch has run away from group homes on more than one occasion, court records show

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2373111/Landmark-legal-battle-woman-Down-syndrome-seeks-overturn-parents-decision-home.html#ixzz2Zm23JKE0
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2 thoughts on “VIRGINIA WOMAN WITH DOWN SYNDROME IN LEGAL BATTLE WITH PARENTS FIGHTING TO LIVE INDEPENDENTLY INSTEAD OF IN A GROUP HOME

  1. It is unbelievable that this Jim and Kelly Morris would find an attorney to write up and have poor jenny with an IQ of 52 sign a power of attorney over to them, robbing her true family of the tough decisions they have made for Jenny for all her life. Jenny is not a pet they can adopt, or buy at a store! Jim and Kelly have caused great turmoil in her life at this time. They do not understand that Jenny, though rather high functioning for an IQ of 52, needs 24 hour supervision and special care. She has gone down hill a bit as years go on, which will continue. Her group home is a very nice one, with friends and work. Jim and Kelly Morris have tried to paint a different picture. Ask yourself, what are their motives? If you were their neighbor and they did not agree a decision you made for your child, do you think they have the right to trick that child into signing over power of attorney to them and take that child? They should be locked up and the lawyer dis-barred! They have cost all involved over a quarter of a million dollars!

    • t is very interesting to see how many people “jump on the bandwagon” and sign petitions based on a one-sided story, filled with untruths and manipulation! Jenny is a wonderful daughter and well loved by her family and siblings. The decision to put her in a group home was a very hard and well thought out decision, based on what is best for Jenny, long term. An unselfish love. Jenny is very happy, it is only when she is being manipulated by these so-called “friends” that she gets upset. There is much more to the story then they are telling, and they often delete anyone from their Facebook that disagrees are tries to voice an opinion that is not theirs. We the family have taken the highroad and trust the legal system. Please be patient, after the final court dates this story will be published in many publications. Richard Hatch

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