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Ten Years Since Olmstead Decision

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 By Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND, Contact
June 22, 2009

Jamestown, ND – It was ten years ago today that the U.S. Supreme Court made its historic Olmstead decision that states are required to place persons with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions. Some states are making progress toward that; some aren't, according to Jim Moench with the North Dakota Disabilities Advocacy Consortium.

He says progress has been slow in this state.

"Implementation has not gone as quickly as some had hoped it would, but it is progressing and we are encouraged by every single individual who is moved from a restrictive environment in an institution to a community setting."

Moench says in North Dakota there are set goals under a federal grant that helps facilitate the change called "Money Follows the Person."

"The state is working very hard, along with private partners, to set up community-type facilities to help move people out of institutions around the state and into community settings."

He says part of the delay in putting the decision into action is that the system was geared toward institutional care, and communities weren't ready to care for the people.

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