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Institutions not right for people

Austin American-Statesman – A Texas-sized mistake? COMMENTS FROM READERS – Thursday, July 23, 2009

Institutions not right for people

A basic understanding of civil rights leads to the conclusion that state schools warehousing people with developmental disabilities have outlasted their questionable utility; they are a shameful relic of failed public policy and outdated attitudes toward people with disabilities. Even with newly signed legislation to improve conditions, the conditions of the institutions will remain deplorable and also will continue to be the most glaring example of badly spent money.

Institutions warehousing people with disabilities across the country are the focus of failed inspections, horrendous findings letters that detail substandard care, class action lawsuits and de-certifications.

There are many other existing and proposed initiatives that support de-institutionalization — Americans with Disabilities Act, New Freedom Initiatives, Olmstead Plans, Lifespan Respite Care Act, Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism Act, Pathways to Independence Act, Family and Workplace Balancing Act— to name a few.

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 President and CEO, Community Options Inc.

Austin American-Statesman article .pdf