Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Last week, June 22nd, was the 13th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C. Thirteen years ago in this historic case, the Supreme Court ruled that the unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and that public entities, within certain stipulations, must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when appropriate. This ruling affirmed the rights of individuals with disabilities to live in their communities and has become an important precedent for people with disabilities to maintain independence and be fully integrated in society.
This case started when two women living with mental disabilities challenged the state of Georgia—insisting that they were better served and healthier in the community as opposed to being housed in an institutional setting. It took a while to wind through the court system, but the Supreme Court ruling is a true victory and its anniversary is a reminder of what activism can achieve!

The impact of the Olmstead decision is still growing. In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of the Administration for Community Living (ACL). The ACL combines the Administration on Aging, the Office of Disability, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into one agency to support cross-cutting initiatives. The goal of the new agency is to increase access to community supports and achieve full community participation for people with disabilities of all ages and seniors. Kathy Greenlee—who spoke at the Society’s 2012 Public Policy Conference—is ACL’s Administrator. Learn more about the new Administration for Community Living by clicking here!

Victories such as Olmstead that change the lives of people on a daily basis would not be possible without the bold work of activists in the disability community! Thank you, Activists!

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