More Access for Virginia Families?
Posted on January 31, 2012
Last week I was riding along in my car and listening to WRVA. They were discussing the final settlement that Virginia was making with the Department of Justice regarding the failure of Virginia to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an integrated setting.
Virginia will end up closing four state facilities by 2020. I was immediately curious about the terms of the settlement and wanted to know more. Being a state employee and working day in and day out to improve the quality of the lives of people with disabilities, I was encouraged by the news. Later in the day I got more news on the specifics of the settlement. Simply put, it levels the playing field for people with disabilities, which is the overall intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the settlement reflects that. Community services and support will be made more available statewide to families that have loved ones in need of these programs.
I was glad that other measures were put into place from the settlement:
- 805 home and community based waiver slots to transition individuals from training centers back to the community.
- 2,915 waiver slots for individuals with intellectual disabilities to reduce the urgent waiver wait list that most families now have to deal with.
- 450 new waiver slots for individuals with developmental disabilities. This, like the intellectual waiver slots, should help families get access to services without being put onto a waiting list.
Overall, it looks like the settlement will provide more access to services for Virginia families. And it certainly sounds like a win for people with disabilities!
Wes Seaton is the Marketing Specialist, Center for Career and Business Development, Commonwealth of Virginia Rehabilitative Services.