An Olmstead Community Integration Plan
Prepared by the DC Office of Disability Rights
Introduction and Background
On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581, that the unjustified segregation or isolation of people with disabilities in institutions may constitute discrimination based on disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Accordingly, the Court held that the ADA requires that States provide community-based treatment for persons with disabilities “when the State’s treatment professionals determine that such placement is appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such treatment, and the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the States and the needs of others with . . . disabilities.” 527 U.S. at 607.
In light of this decision, the District instituted a comprehensive working plan to serve qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with the Supreme Court’s holding in Olmstead. This plan establishes certain goals of the District to ensure that community-based treatment is provided to persons with disabilities, when such treatment is appropriate. However, this plan does not create independent legal obligations on the part of the District.
Mayor Vincent Gray and a wide range of District stakeholders including persons with disabilities directed and supported the Office of Disability Rights to develop the Olmstead Community Integration Plan in accordance with policies and procedures outlined in D.C. Act 16-595 the Disability Rights Protection Act of 2006. The District values its residents with disabilities as contributing members of society and understands the cost-effective benefits of supporting them with integrated, community-based services. The DC Olmstead Community Integration Plan, One Community for All is a policy document that details the rights of each person with a disability to self-determination in the District of Columbia.
One Community for All endeavors to meet the needs and preferences of the individual while allowing him or her to choose where s/he wants to live in the community with the appropriate supports and services consistent with the Olmstead decision and the resources available to the District to serve such individuals, taking into account the needs of others. The Plan is a living document, providing specific goals, action steps, and tools, while allowing for better flexibility and improved services for individuals with disabilities.
Nine (9) District agencies participating in this initiative are responsible for implementing the Plan. These District agencies include: Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE), Office on Aging (DCOA), Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Department of Disability Services (DDS), Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). These agencies are collaborating in the hope that the District of Columbia will become a national model for providing community services and supports to persons with disabilities.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Plan
For Fiscal Year 2015 (FY ’15), the District’s Plan will focus on the programs, services, and outcomes of the following agencies:
· DC Office on Aging (DCOA);
· Department of Behavioral Health (DBH);
· Department on Disability Services (DDS); and
· Department of Healthcare Finance (DHCF).
The above-named agencies provide direct service to a quantifiable population of District residents individually and with other District agencies and community partners. This year’s Plan seeks to highlight collaboration among these agencies, as well as the Plan’s remaining five (5) participating agencies, to illustrate the wrap-around, holistic approach to support provided by the District to individuals with disabilities who are transitioning into the community of their choice.
This year’s Plan is designed to specifically address how these agencies carry out the Primary Service Agency Priorities set forth in the original iteration of DC—One Community for All published in April 2012. .[i]
The FY ’15 Plan contains benchmarks for each of the above agencies. Each agency will report quarterly on the number of individuals with disabilities it has assisted in transition. Moreover, each agency will report on any qualitative measures it has taken to promote and support successful integration into community life for people with disabilities. These types of measures will include, but are not limited to the following:
- Outreach and training;
- Internal and external agency publications;
- Development of transition-relevant new community partnerships;
- Fostering of existing transition-relevant community partnerships; and opportunities for input from persons with disabilities being served.
Last, the FY ’15 Olmstead Plan will explore avenues to address the most prevalent barrier to successful, lasting transition for the disability community—accessible, affordable housing. To facilitate this effort, the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) and DC Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will participate or provide comment on all District-wide housing issues related to DC’s Olmstead Plan.
[i] “District of Columbia Primary Service Agency Priorities,” DC—One Community for All pp. 8-9 (April 2012). Available at: http://odr.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/odr/publication/attachments/olmstead_community_integration_initiative.pdf.