Editor's Note: Shelley Cohen's blog published today is very timely, as the Justice Department announced a landmark agreement with the State of Rhode Island yesterday that will liberate people with disabilities from sheltered workshops. Read more about this agreement in The New York Times.
The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into the nation’s first statewide settlement agreement vindicating the civil rights of individuals with disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.
The agreement with the State of Rhode Island will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for approximately 3,250 Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This first-of-its-kind statewide agreement addresses the rights of people with disabilities to receive state-funded employment and daytime services in integrated settings, such as supported employment and integrated day services, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs with only other people with disabilities. The agreement also provides relief to transition-age youth at risk of segregation in facility-based programs. Under the agreement, transition-age youth will have access to a wide array of transition, vocational rehabilitation, and supported employment services intended to lead to integrated employment outcomes after they leave secondary school. The parties have jointly filed the settlement in federal district court and have requested that it be entered as a court-enforceable Consent Decree.
For more general information about the Justice Department’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts, visit the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone website. To find out more about the ADA, visit Division’s ADA.govwebsite or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).