The bleak state of our State is that many individuals with special needs are no strangers to “waiting lists” for vital supports and services in the community. For many, the term waiting list has become synonymous with “good luck and goodbye.”
But for those individuals who have fallen into the dark abyss of waiting, the Department of Justice has released a groundbreaking statement that shines a ray of hope.
The United States Department of Justice issued a powerful Statement of Interest in an Ohio case wherein individuals with disabilities sued the State for placing them on long waiting lists and for failing to provide supports in the community.
In its bold Statement, the Department of Justice empowers individuals placed on waiting lists for home and community-based services to sue the State.
The Statement underscores that waiting lists may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by placing individuals with disabilities at risk of institutionalization. Individuals do not need to wait until they are actually institutionalized or about to enter an institutional setting to bring a law suit. Waiting lists violate the ADA where the lack of services “will likely cause a decline in health, safety, or welfare that would lead to the individual’s eventual placement in an institution.”
This Statement by the Department of Justice has flung open the door of possibility to Connecticut residents with special needs. We are closely tracking this issue and preparing to advocate on behalf of individuals who, like us, are done waiting.