Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

Finding Your Way Around

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Tennessee Judge Rules for Families

Guardian/Conservator Authority
To Choose ICF/MR or "community" home

Excerpts from VOR Weekly E-Update:
"As families prepare for the closure of the Clover Bottom Developmental Center, on May 28, a court ruled in favor of the right (of) individuals and legal guardians to choose another ICF/MR (deemed a “congregate” setting), even when professionals have determined the individuals could be provided (for) in a more integrated setting. "

"The question before the federal district court in Tennessee was whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) precluded Clover Bottom residents, or their legal guardians, from choosing “congregate care.”

Citing Olmstead and Medicaid law, the Court ruled in favor of the state and families, recognizing the freedom to choose a large ICF/MR placement even if the individual could be appropriately served in a more integrated setting.

“The intersection of citizen choice and the ADA was addressed by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C.,” wrote the court. “[T]here is no federal requirement under the ADA that community-based treatment must be imposed on citizens who do not desire it.”

The Court was particularly persuaded by the brief of the Parent Guardian Association (PGA), which argued that “Conservators [and guardians] - who have the longest and most meaningful relationship with their loved ones and the greatest investment in their well-being - are in the best position” to weigh all benefits and risks of any placement option, and will give due consideration to the opinion of professionals."
Used by permisson of VOR.

To read the decision, go to: http://www.vor.net/get-help/legal-resources/. (Just click on this blog post's title)

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you have experience with this dilemma? If so, would you be willing to share it? How does this work in your state? When, (if at all) is placement in the "most integrated setting" as or more important than other considerations such as proximity to needed resources, safety of environment &/or elements that make for least restrictive environment (also a part of the Olmstead ruling)?