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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Virginia ADA Agreement

A release on Thursday from the US Justice Department:
The Justice Department today announced that it has entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement that will transform the Commonwealth of Virginia’s system for serving people with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, and will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead v. L.C., individuals with disabilities have the right to receive services in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. The ADA and Olmstead require states to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to live and receive services in the community instead of in institutions.

The agreement expands community-based services so that Virginia can serve people with developmental disabilities in their own homes, their family’s homes or other integrated community settings. The agreement will provide relief for more than 5,000 Virginians with developmental disabilities and will have an impact on thousands more individuals receiving developmental disability services. Over the next 10 years, Virginia will expand community services by providing home and community-based Medicaid waivers to nearly 4,200 individuals; providing family supports to 1,000 individuals currently living in the community; and expanding and deepening its crisis services, including a hotline, mobile crisis teams and short term crisis stabilization programs. This expansion will provide individuals the opportunity to transition successfully from its five state-operated training centers to community settings that can meet their needs and prevent new people from being unnecessarily institutionalized.

The agreement will also expand opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently through a fund for housing assistance and enhanced coordination of existing rental assistance programs. Virginia will also offer other supports for community living, including supported employment. Finally, Virginia will implement a comprehensive, robust quality and risk management system to ensure that people are safe, receive the supports and services they need, and have opportunities for real community inclusion. The agreement is court enforceable, and compliance will be monitored by an independent reviewer with extensive experience in developmental disability systems.