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Don't institutionalize disabled

October 06, 2009 – Omaha World-Herald article .pdf

Don’t institutionalize disabled

In response to a Sept. 26 news story, “Beatrice center nears losing funds,” I believe a basic understanding of civil rights leads to the conclusion that it is questionable to utilize state institutions as warehouses for people with developmental disabilities. These institutions are a shameful relic of failed public policy and outdated attitudes toward people with disabilities. Institutions that warehouse people with disabilities across the country are the focus of failed inspections, horrendous findings that detail substandard care, class-action lawsuits and decertifications. There are many other existing and proposed initiatives that support de-institutionalization. These include the Americans With Disabilities Act, the New Freedom Initiatives, the Olmstead Plans, the lifespan Respite Care Act, the Expanding the Promise for Individuals With Autism Act, the Pathways to Independence Act, and the Family and Workplace Balancing Act. The institutional bias is not reflective of American attitudes. People want to stay in their homes and communities, regardless of disability at any age.

Robert Stack, Princeton, N.J.
President and chief executive officer Community Options Inc.

Omaha World-Herald article .pdf