Will it be different this time? Deinstitutionalization’s Past: A Reason to Pause and Reconsider

by VOR, June 2014

In a frank and challenging article, “The Past and Future of Deinstitutionalization Litigation,”    Samuel Bagenstos,  former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and a key litigator in deinstitutionalization cases, disputes the generally-accepted view that deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill was a failure, admits that political expediency denied many people with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) quality placements in the community, and calls for the creation of a new political alliance to achieve quality community placements.

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Pennsylvania victory: Settlement agreement protects choice; VOR as Amicus

October 9, 2014

(PDF of this article and links)

On September 25, 2014 attorneys for family intervenors secured a favorable settlement in Benjamin v. Pa. Department of Public Welfare (DPW), securing approval from the District Court (order and opinion). 


The settlement requires the State to enable hundreds of Pennsylvania’s intellectually disabled residents to remain in their current state facility (“ICF/IID”) homes or transition into community-based care, according to individual choice.

"Finally after almost 5 1/2 frustrating years, efforts to construct an agreement culminated in a very good outcome," said Bert Springstead, lead intervenor and retired VOR Board Member and State Coordinator. "For example, it is expected that an unbiased implementation of the agreement’s protocols will diminish the current mistrust of DPW by many family members and guardians."

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Oregon: Court Denies Intervenors in Lane v. Kitzhaber

This most recent ruling in this case DENIED the Motion to Intervene filed by seven individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are currently being served by sheltered workshops. In other words, those seven people are not allowed to join in the lawsuit at this point.

The Court took some effort to point out that the seven may be allowed to join the suit after a verdict on liability is reached but before any money or resources are allocated. The court felt that the interests of the seven were not at risk at when it comes to liability but very well may be when it comes to remediation.

The Court wrote at some length about the promises of the plaintiffs and the US government regarding their intent to not close workshops. While the Court repeated the promises and indicated it would hold them to their promises, it did not conclude for itself one way or the other about the results of this suit on sheltered workshops. In other words, while it is not the plaintiffs' intent, they may nevertheless find it a happy coincidence if their suit closes workshops. Others, of course, have different opinions and that was why the seven individuals attempted to join the suit.

We have a long way to go before this matter is finally decided and resources potentially reallocated as a result.

Read Order here

 

Illinois families, guardians, advocates sue state to block home closings

August 25, 2014 Update

July 21, 2014 Update
Judge Aspen Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction

October 9, 2013 Update
Judge Rules Murray Center Lawsuit Can Move Forward
Hearing scheduled for Jan 6 -7, 2013
Read more...
 
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