Thousands of adults with developmental disabilities may soon win the right to move out of state-funded institutions into smaller, community based housing under a settlement before U.S. District Judge James Holderman. The Chicago Tribune writes:
Thousands of Illinois adults with developmental disabilities — many of whom have spent years on a 21,000-plus waiting list for state services — will soon have more choices in housing under a proposed settlement to a long-running federal lawsuit.
The settlement, if approved as expected Wednesday by U.S. District Judge James Holderman, would upend how the state now pays for their care. Rather than assigning dollars to institutions, the money would follow the individual to the housing of their choice. The goal is to bring Illinois into compliance with the 1990 federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that people with disabilities be allowed to live in the "most integrated setting" within their communities.
"We view this as a civil rights case in the truest sense of the word," said John Grossbart, a Chicago lawyer representing five plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Human Services. He noted that Illinois ranks second to last nationally, just above Mississippi, in serving people with developmental disabilities in community-based settings, according to the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities 2011 report by the University of Colorado.