Smithtown Messenger: “Angela’s House” a Unique Group Residence

“Angela’s House,” the first of its kind group home in Long Island, was dedicated on Friday, June 30, by Independent Group Home Living (IGHL) at 165 Montauk Highway, East Moriches, New York, 11940.

The residence will provide housing for seven medically-frail and technology-dependent children from Long Island, ages three to eight. The families have battled with distance, traveling to homes or hospitals upstate to see their children. As of now, they will be able to have their children much closer to home.

Walter Stockton, the Chief Executive Officer of IGHL, noted that the project began as a result of the efforts of Robert Policastro of Smithtown. Mr. Policastro’s daughter, Angela, who is now deceased, would have benefitted from the existance of such a facility on Long Island. The new residence is being named in her honor.

“Angela’s House,” is a reality due to years of hard work on the part of Mr. Policastro, New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Marvin Colson, who leads the Long Island Office or Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

The home is located on Montauk Highway in East Moriches. The dedication ceremony will be attended by dignitaries, IGHL staff and board member, and the children’s families.

IGHL provide residence, employment, and educational services for developmentally disabled individuals thoughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Its first group residence opened in Mount Sinai in 1978.

For more information about Angela’s House or directions, contact Frank Lombardi at 878-8900, ext. 102.

-Angela’s House-

Angela Frances Policastro was born on August 30, 1989. Due to lack of oxygen at birth, she suffered sever brain damage. The Policastro’s were faced with the devastating news that their daughter was only being kept alive by the part of the brain that controls heartbeat and breathing. How long she would live remained a question.

Faced with unbearable frief and pain, the Policastros’ realized that her complex medical care would be too much for them to handle at home. It did not take long to discover that there were no specialized homes on Long Island that cared for children with complex medical needs. The only home they found was in Albany, a four and a half hour drive from their home on Long Island. The search continued, and finally they found a wonderful home in Connecticut, a two hour drive for them, where they found the warmth, love and compassion they were searching for.

Angela died on October 8, 1990. She was a beautiful girl with brown hair that shined like gold in the sun. She had big brown eyes and a warmth and gentleness that deeply touched anyone who was fortunate enough to hold her, love her, and be in her presence.

The Policastros’ now knew that no other family should have to endure the pain and hardship of placing a child so far away. Faced with overwhelming odds, they began a campaign to have a home developed on Long Island for severely disabled children. It has involved years of advocacy, endless meetings, letter writing and over-coming the hurdles of state and government red-tape. Finally the project progressed to the point where it was approved by the state. Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg then succeeded in getting the State Legislature to approve the funding for the home. It was then that the Policastros chose IGHL to be the agency to open and run the home.

We know this home will provide families with peace and comfort knowing their children will be cared for close to home with love, compassion, and respect.

This is all for you, Angela, and for all the precious babies and children that will follow in your light.