At the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Chris Serres reports on Minnesota's Olmstead Plan Quality of Life Baseline Report:
Nineteen years after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling opened the doors to integration, thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities continue to live and work in segregated settings that keep them in poverty and limit their daily autonomy.
These are among the principal findings of the state’s first comprehensive survey examining the quality of life of nearly 50,000 Minnesotans with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities who spend most of their time in settings such as group homes, nursing facilities and cloistered workplaces known as sheltered workshops.
The survey, released this week, also found wide earnings gaps for Minnesotans with disabilities. People who labor in sheltered workshops and day training programs earned just $3.30 to $3.50 an hour, on average — less than half the earnings of those who worked in more-integrated settings in the community.
People in sheltered workshops were also more isolated socially, mostly limiting their daily interactions to other individuals with disabilities, the survey found.
The findings echo those of a 2015 special report by the Star Tribune, which found that Minnesota is among the most segregated states in the nation for working people with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism. The series also found that hundreds of people with disabilities are being sent, sometimes against their will, to state-licensed group homes where they live with strangers in settings far from home.