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Settlement of Disability Lawsuit in Virginia - What Does It Mean

Feb 17, 2012 A settlement agreement has been reached between the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) and the Commonwealth of Virginia that requires the closing of a number of training centers and the issuance new ID and DD Waiver slots. The U.S. Dept of Justice brought suit against the Commonwealth based on the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision interpreting the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) which requires that individuals be served in the most integrated settings appropriate to meet their needs consistent with their choice. In March 2011 Virginia and the DOJ entered into negotiations and on January 26, 2012 they reached a settlement. The agreement resolves DOJ's investigation of Virginia's training centers and community programs and the Commonwealth's compliance with the ADA and Olmstead.

The agreement targets a specific population: Any individuals with a developmental disability who meet any of the following criteria: (1) Currently reside at any of the training centers, (2) Meet the criteria for the Intellectual Disability (ID) waiver or Developmental Disability (DD) waiver wait lists, or (3) Currently reside in a nursing home or ICF.

The Agreement requires the following:

1. Virginia will create 4,170 Waiver slots for the target population by June 30, 2021 according to a detailed timetable.
2. Virginia will create an individual family support program for individuals in the target population who are not receiving services through the ID or DD waiver.
3. Virginia will develop a statewide crisis system for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
4. An employment first policy that targets employment for the disabled in the work force will be developed in Virginia.
5. Virginia will develop a plan to increase independent living options for the target population. A one time fund of $800.000 will provide rental assistance.

In addition, Virginia has decided to close 4 of the 5 training centers and regional support teams, one for each training center, will oversee and monitor the discharge process.

Stay tuned for additional explanations on each of these new initiatives.

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