Olmstead Settlement Agreement in Virginia
In recent years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has made enforcement of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. decision a top priority, and Virginia is the latest state to reach a settlement agreement that will enhance the state’s community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
After conducting an investigation, the Civil Rights Division of DOJ found that Virginia violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in integrated settings appropriate to their needs, and failing to provide adequate community services and supports.
DOJ entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement with Virginia on January 26, 2012, and the agreement was approved on August 24, 2012. The purpose of the settlement agreement is to ensure that Virginia complies with the ADA and Olmstead to help individuals with disabilities achieve the goals of community integration, self-determination, and quality services.
The Olmstead decision requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of individuals with disabilities and ensure that they receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. The decision is the Supreme Court’s interpretation of title II of the ADA.
In 2008 DOJ began investigating the Central Virginia Training Center regarding the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1997. The investigation was expanded in 2010 to focus on the state’s compliance with the ADA’s integration mandate and the Olmstead decision regarding individuals at the training center. To comply with the ADA, states must provide individuals with disabilities with the opportunity to live and receive services in the community instead of in institutions.
The settlement agreement will resolve ADA violations by transforming Virginia’s developmental disabilities services system from one that is reliant on large institutions to one that focuses on individualized and cost-effective community-based services.
Over the next 10 years, Virginia will provide home and community-based services through Medicaid waivers and family supports to more than 5,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are either unnecessarily institutionalized or at risk of unnecessary institutionalization.
In addition, the state will expand community services to allow individuals to transition from the five state-operated training centers to community settings. The agreement will also expand crisis and employment services, enhance access to services in the community, and provide oversight of community services.
The target population of the agreement includes individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who reside in state institutions, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, or who meet the criteria for waivers. As a result of the agreement, Virginia will be able to serve individuals in their own homes, their families’ homes, or other integrated community settings. Integration and independence will be promoted and individuals will be able to live, work, and participate fully in community life. The agreement is court enforceable and will be monitored by an independent reviewer.
Other Olmstead Enforcement Efforts
In the past 3 years, the Civil Rights Division of DOJ has joined or initiated litigation to ensure community-based services in more than 35 matters in 20 states. Similar comprehensive agreements have been reached with Georgia (in 2010) and Delaware (in 2011).
The Civil Rights Division works with state and local government officials, disability rights groups, attorneys, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to form a nationwide program to enforce the integration mandate of the ADA.
- Participation by the United States in Olmstead Cases, Department of Justice
- Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone, Department of Justice
- Text of Supreme Court Olmstead ruling, Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School