NC Court Rules for Disability rights in lawsuit against state
In a huge victory for people with disabilities in North Carolina, Superior Court Judge R. Allen Baddour has ordered a halt to segregating thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in large, state-run institutions. This lawsuit, filed by Disability Rights NC (DRNC) in 2017, argued that the state was failing to provide disabled people with the supports and services they need to live in the community.
This ruling means that the state is required to make sure that people with disabilities have the resources they need to live in the community instead of being institutionalized.
The lead plaintiff in the case (filed by the Disability Rights of NC in 2017) is Samantha Rhoney. At 27, Samantha was forced to live in a state-operated institution because she was denied the services she needed to remain with her family at home. Now, 33 Samantha just recently moved into a home in her community.
What does this mean?
- Within 10 years, the state must provide services to ALL 16,314 people on the waitlist for an Innovations Waiver Slot
- The state must effectively address and resolve the serious shortage of DSPs through better compensation and professionalizing the workforce
- The state must assist 3,000 people who want to leave or avoid institutional settings and cease new admissions after 6 years
For too long, individuals with I/DD have been isolated from the rest of society and denied the opportunity to lead full lives. These large institutions cannot provide the individualized supports that people with disabilities need to thrive.
This ruling will give people the chance to lead full and independent lives in their communities. Now they will finally have access to the resources they need to thrive, instead of just survive. This is a major victory for disability rights advocates, who have been fighting for this change for many years.
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