Department of Justice Releases Report on Investigation of Rhode Island’s Sheltered Workshops

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on its investigation of Rhode Island’s sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs concluding that the state was violating the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  DOJ said that the state had over-relied on segregated placements that were designed and functioned like most institutional settings for individuals who could and want to participate in more integrated alternatives.  DOJ conducted its state wide investigation of Rhode Island’s employment and day services system following its findings in June 2013 regarding two of the largest programs in the State located in Providence.  DOJ provided Rhode Island with steps it must take to comply with the ADA, including providing supported employment services, integrated day activities, and transition services to youth with I/DD leaving school and shifting its funding of segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs to integrated supported employment and community-based day services.  Ironically, Rhode Island has no state-operated or state-funded, privately-operated institutions for people with I/DD.

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