Department of Justice reaches agreement with Virginia

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia that will avoid costly litigation. Under terms of the settlement, Virginia will cease operations at four of its five training centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by 2021 and will assist individuals receiving home and community-based waiver services to live in the most integrated setting consistent with their informed choice and needs. The state will facilitate individuals living in their own homes, leased apartments, or families’ homes by creating a dedicated housing service coordinator position and creating an $800,000 fund to provide and administer rental assistance to individuals who receive HCBS waiver services. Under terms of the agreement, no individuals may be placed in a nursing facility or any setting with five or more individuals unless the placement is consistent with the individual’s needs and informed choice.

The state must create 4,170 new waiver slots for people currently residing in any of the state’s five Training Centers (currently about 1,000 individuals), people with intellectual disabilities who are on the state’s “urgent” waiting list for waiver services, people with ID who are under 22 and live in facilities other than the training centers, people with DD who are on the state’s waiting list for waiver services and for people with DD who are under 22 and live in facilities other than the training centers. The state also will create an individual and family support program for 1,000 individuals with I/DD most at risk of institutional placement.

Virginia must set up an independent case management system to ensure that individual support plans (ISP) that are person-centered are developed, to assist individuals in accessing needed services, and to monitor implementation of the ISPs. Statewide crisis services, including mobile crisis teams, must be in place to prevent the removal of an individual from his or her home. Virginia must establish an “Employment First” policy (supported employment in integrated work settings where they are paid minimum or competitive wages is the first and priority service option for individuals) and provide integrated day opportunities, including supported employment, to the greatest extent practicable. The state must provide data and set targets to increase the number of individuals who enroll in supported employment and who are employed in integrated work settings for at least 12 months.

Detailed plans for helping individuals transition from institutional settings to community settings and establishing a quality and risk management system are outlined in the agreement. An independent reviewer will oversee the settlement agreement for the court which retains jurisdiction.

To view The Arc’s statement in response to this agreement visit our blog.

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