[nfbmi-talk] Fw: pass it on

Terry D. Eagle terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 14 20:44:39 UTC 2015

This is truly progress through judicial advocacy on behalf of persons with
disAbilities.  The tide and trend is truly on the side of justice inequality
for we persons with disAbilities.  More needs to be done like this action
and outcome across the nation and here in Michigan.  This outcome proves the
law and case law is on our side, and both need to be reinforced and
enforced.  No price tag can be placed on realization of dreams for
independence, equality, opportunity, and security, through personal choice,
and that is what this case and the plan submitted to the court.  Hats off to
the advocates in Minneoapolis that brought this to reality.

This case begs the question:  What is Michigan's plan to comply with the
U.S. Supreme Court case in Omstead?

If choice is substantially achieved, the evil of immoral subminimum wage
slave labor jobs will vanish, but it takes relentless positive action
through advocacy to achieve personal choice by those without a voice for
personal  self-determination. 
The following article is forwarded to you by the Great Lakes ADA Center (
for your information:

Minnesota NPR News

Federal judge accepts state's plan to integrate people with disabilities
By: Riham Feshir

After nearly four years, several revisions and numerous court filings, a
federal judge approved the Minnesota Olmstead Plan Tuesday, giving people
with disabilities a clearer vision for how the state would integrate them
within the community.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank said the latest version of the Olmstead
plan submitted in August emphasizes key changes including concrete data,
specific timelines to establish measurable goals and added commitments that
make the plan an "evolving document."

But Frank also recognized that some individuals fear the plan would
eliminate certain programs or close facilities that provide services for
people with disabilities.

"Many individuals with disabilities in this state value living and working
alongside other individuals with disabilities in settings such as group
homes and sheltered workshops," he wrote. "The Court emphasizes that the
Olmstead decision is not about forcing integration upon individuals who
choose otherwise or who would not be appropriately served in community

In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it was unlawful to keep people with
disabilities in institutions when they could live in the community. The case
involved two women with mental disabilities who were forced to live in
institutions despite their providers' approval to receive treatment outside.

As in other states, Minnesota is required to say how it will provide the
means for people with disabilities to live as independently as possible,
which it agreed to do in a 2011 court settlement, following a lawsuit over
the use of restraints in a Cambridge facility.

State Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Roberta
Opheim, said the newest version shows vast improvements, but she said some
of the goals are still too modest. For example, the plan's goal to reduce
the percentage of Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center patients, who are
ready to be integrated, from 35 to 30 percent by 2019 isn't enough.

"The fundamentals of Olmstead would indicate that you can't keep someone in
an institutional setting simply because you have failed to develop an
appropriate community alternative," she said.

But others hope that it will provide needed services for people with
developmental and physical disabilities. Dawn Bly, a Fosston mother of a
19-year-old man who has severe cognitive delays, said the plan is
comprehensive and speaks to "things I know I have fear of as a parent."

"It speaks to abuse and neglect," she said, "what is his day going to be as
he moves out of my house to make sure nobody is taking advantage of him and
if they are, how will we know?"

To come up with a framework that the federal court would accept, Gov. Mark
Dayton put together a sub-cabinet. The Olmstead Sub-cabinet submitted three
versions of the plan which Frank kicked back, citing lack of realistic

The approved Olmstead Plan has 13 topic areas that talk broadly about how
employment, housing, education, transportation, health care and transition
services would be provided.

"We have been very clear starting with the cover letter to the plan that
this is a plan about choice and not about closure," Olmstead Subcabinet
Chair Mary Tingerthal said.

The state's work is not done yet. It has to submit individual work plan
documents for each of the 13 topic areas by Oct. 10.

Shamus O'Meara, an attorney representing people with disabilities, has
concerns about how the state will implement the changes. He's also filed
- which Frank took into consideration - saying the state doesn't completely
prohibit the use of restraint and seclusion in its plan.

"There is a lot to be done, the plan is a document," O'Meara said. "The real
measure of success of this type of plan is how it's implemented and is it
going to be affecting people with disabilities in a positive way or is it
doing something else."

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