Pushing Towards Community Living for People with Developmental Disabilities
- Published on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 23:30
In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the unjustified institutionalization of people with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The landmark decision in the case Olmstead v. L.C, 527 U.S. 581 (1999) [Olmstead], had a significant impact in facilitating the community integration of individuals with disabilities.
On June 22, 2009, in commemoration of the 10 year Anniversary of the Olmstead decision, President Obama launched the "Year of Community Living, a new effort to assist Americans with Disabilities. Their main goal is to identify ways to improve access to housing, community supports and independent living arrangements.
The Department of Health and Human Services is playing a key role in carrying out the President's directive. Along with his many tasks, HHS Secretary Sebelius is working with Secretary Donovan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to identify ways to improve access to housing, community supports and independent living arrangements.
HHS' Office for Civil Rights is also partnering with the Department of Justice to increase compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Olmstead decision and to promote federal leadership in civil rights and setting forth the Administration's position in the federal courts."
The hope is that this will ensure the fullest inclusion of all people in the life of our nation."
The Coordinating Council consist of The Office for Civil Rights, The Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Aging, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the Office of Public Health and Science, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They are charged with aggressively addressing the barriers that prevent some individuals with disabilities from enjoying a meaningful life in their community.
In the Olmstead case, the Court said that states are required to provide community-based services for people with disabilities who would otherwise be entitled to institutional services when: (a) such placement is appropriate; (b) the affected person does not oppose such treatment; and (c) the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the state and the needs of other individuals with disabilities. OCR's enforcement program investigates complaints alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA's) "integration regulation."
As a result of OCR's efforts, many individuals have been able to move from an institution to the community, and many individuals have avoided unnecessary institutionalization.
For more info on the OCR