Justice Department cites Virginia for unnecessary institutionalization

The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a letter of findings to the Governor of Virginia about its failure to provide services to people with disabilities in the community. Virginia relies heavily on institutional care for people with intellectual disabilities.  DOJ said that the state is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision because it fails to provide community-based services to prevent unnecessary institutionalization for people, especially those with the most complex needs, and because it fails to have a workable transition process in place for people who could leave the institution.  In order to avoid litigation, DOJ recommended that Virginia obtain additional waivers and expand community services; develop crisis services; provide integrated day services, including supported employment, and move away from relying on sheltered workshops; create systems to monitor community services; provide true discharge planning for people in institutions; work with families who are opposed to community placement so they can make informed choices, and prevent new admissions to institutions unless that placement is the most integrated setting appropriate to serve the individual’s needs.  Read the letter at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/news/docs/DOJ_Findings_Letter_2011-02-11.pdf

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