South Carolina General Assembly
110th Session, 1993-1994

Bill 4908

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

                    Current Status

Introducing Body:               House
Bill Number:                    4908
Primary Sponsor:                P. Harris
Type of Legislation:            CR
Subject:                        Ravenel, Ms. Louise Rodgers
Date Bill Passed both Bodies:   19940315
Computer Document Number:       NO5/7681BDW.94
Introduced Date:                19940315
Last History Body:              House
Last History Date:              19940315
Last History Type:              Received from Senate
Scope of Legislation:           Statewide
All Sponsors:                   P. Harris
Type of Legislation:            Concurrent


Bill  Body    Date          Action Description              CMN  Leg Involved
____  ______  ____________  ______________________________  ___  ____________

4908  House   19940315      Received from Senate
4908  Senate  19940315      Introduced, adopted, returned
                            with concurrence
4908  House   19940315      Introduced, adopted, sent to

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Whereas, Louise Rodgers Ravenel was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1929. Because her father was a career serviceman, the family lived in many, many places, but she stayed long enough in Charleston to attend Ashley Hall Preparatory School and the College of Charleston majoring in chemistry. She also married Arthur Ravenel, now a United States Congressman, and together they have six children - three daughters and three sons. After her divorce, she moved to Columbia to lead the South Carolina Protection and Advocacy System for the Handicapped, Inc.; and

Whereas, after the birth of her son, William in 1959, with Down's syndrome, she became very active in the Charleston area in an effort to get appropriate services for her son and others like him. She led the effort to establish an Advocacy for Handicapped Citizens group, the first such group in South Carolina. She helped establish Camp HiHopes, the only day camp for handicapped persons in the Charleston area; Hope Center, the primary community service program for retarded persons; Charleston Rehabilitation Center; and the first classes for both educable and trainable children with retardation in her school district. She served as an officer or board member of almost every organization which advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities in Charleston County; and

Whereas, in 1969, Ms. Ravenel was appointed by the President as South Carolina's first member to the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. She represented a mother's perspective on the committee and was responsible for reflecting the concerns and knowledge of lay persons who were actively involved in the grass roots development of programs for retarded persons. She quickly demonstrated her interest in and knowledge about lead poisoning prevention and retarded offenders. Under her leadership, the first National Symposium on the Mentally Retarded Citizen and the Criminal Justice System was held in early 1975. Because of the success of this symposium, she also was asked to chair the Second Symposium in 1980; and

Whereas, she was a delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1970 and a member of the board of the National Association for Retarded Citizens in 1973; and

Whereas, in 1972 the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare asked her to serve as a member of the Task Force to Investigate Conditions at Willowbrook Institution, an institution serving persons with retardation. She also served as a member of the President's Commission on Mental Health and as a member of the Liaison Task Force on Mental Retardation; and

Whereas, Ms. Ravenel has served as a member of an advisory board for the Mental Health Law Project's Developmental Disabilities Projects Center in 1979; and

Whereas, she was appointed by the Governor in 1974 to the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council and served as its secretary and chairperson of the Priorities and Retarded Offenders Committees. In 1975 she was a member of the Legislative-Governor's Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation which introduced and coordinated the passage of many important pieces of legislation designed to benefit persons with disabilities, including the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, zoning legislation, and the Bill of Rights for persons with handicaps. She was a board member of the South Carolina Association for Retarded Citizens and chaired a number of committees, including the committee which established Camp Hope, a residential statewide camp for persons with retardation. The Governor appointed her in 1976 to the South Carolina Advisory Board to the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals; and

Whereas, in 1976-77, Ms. Ravenel became the coordinator of an early intervention project at the College of Charleston. This project was the first project in Charleston to serve developmentally disabled, delayed, and high risk children ages 0-6 years and their families through home-based and center-based parent training programs; and

Whereas, when Congress passed the Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act in 1976, which called for the establishment of a protection and advocacy system for the handicapped in every state of the union, Governor Edwards selected the Advocacy for Handicapped Citizens begun by Ms. Ravenel in Charleston as the program to become that system. Because the program had to be a statewide effort, the legislature decided the program would be most effective if it operated out of Columbia. They also decided that the system would serve all disabilities, rather than just serving persons with developmental disabilities. Thus, the South Carolina Protection and Advocacy System for the Handicapped, Inc., was begun; and

Whereas, during the first year of its operation, the system had a budget of approximately fifty thousand dollars and four employees. Today the organization has approximately thirty-five employees and a budget of approximately one million, two hundred thousand dollars; and

Whereas, most recently, Ms. Ravenel was appointed by the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina to the review panel overseeing the implementation of the Willie M consent decree. As a member of the panel she oversees the implementation of a court order which mandates the implementation of a continuum of services for "Willie M", violent children, and youth with severe emotional problems; and

Whereas, since the birth of her son, Ms. Ravenel has been committed to protecting the rights of individuals with handicaps, pushing for the development of appropriate programs for them, lobbying for legislative changes which would enhance their lives, and promoting programs for the prevention of disability. In the thirty-five years which have passed since William's birth, she successfully has advocated for the rights of all South Carolinians with disabilities at every level of government - national, state, and local; and

Whereas, her advocacy efforts personally and professionally have made it possible for many individuals with disabilities to move out of the darkened corners of institutions and into the light of their own communities. Because of her leadership:

(1) far fewer children are being sent out of State for "treatment" and a continuum of programs are being developed close to home to meet the needs of the child and its family;

(2) women with mental disabilities are no longer written off as being unfit mothers without a discussion of the woman's rights;

(3) the number of institutional beds for persons with disabilities has been reduced drastically and the number of community homes and supervised living options have been dramatically increased;

(4) the use of lead paint in homes practically has disappeared which has eliminated that cause of retardation in most areas of the State; and

(5) the Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, both of which federally grant rights to people with disabilities, have been enacted; and

Whereas, she carefully has nurtured the system's growth to ensure that all people with disabilities have access to its services. One of her most successful strategies was the establishment of a Minority/Rural Outreach Project seven years ago which has demonstrated its effectiveness over and over again; and

Whereas, Ms. Ravenel's soft-styled negotiational strategy has served as a role model for the advocates who work for the system and for many young women who seek to follow in her footsteps. As only one can who has been through the trials, tribulations, and joys of being a mother of a child with a disability, she constantly works with families, mothers in particular, who are devastated upon the birth of a child with a disability. Under her tutelage they quickly learn that the birth is not the end of the world but rather a beginning of a new and different experience, an experience that can bring great joy and happiness; and

Whereas, thanks to Ms. Ravenel's efforts, and the many other advocates she has influenced during the last thirty-five years, a new mother today is very unlikely to hear this advice from her doctor: Your child has a disability and you would do best to send him to an institution to live. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the members of the General Assembly recognize Ms. Louise Rodgers Ravenel upon her retirement as Executive Director of the South Carolina Protection and Advocacy System for the Handicapped, Inc., and thank her for her tireless efforts on behalf of South Carolina's very special citizens.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to Ms. Ravenel in the balcony of the South Carolina House of Representatives at an appropriate time to be determined by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.