June 27, 2011
The Department of Justice released a new technical assistance document describing public entities’ obligations and individuals’ rights under the integration mandate of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 1999 landmark Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C. The Olmstead decision held that the ADA requires public entities to provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when such services are appropriate; the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and community-based services can be reasonably accommodated. The document also provides questions and answers on a variety of ADA enforcement issues related to Olmstead.
Additionally, in commemorating the 12th anniversary of the Olmstead decision yesterday, the department launched a new section of its ADA website, www.ada.gov/olmstead, providing information and resources about the decision and its enforcement. In addition to the newly created technical assistance document, users can visit the site to find briefs filed by the Department, as well as other materials relevant to this important area of law. The ADA website provides easy access to an extensive collection of ADA technical assistance materials and settlement agreements, as well as information about enforcement, mediation, technical assistance and certification activities and links to other sites with ADA information. The addition of the new Olmstead section of the site will provide critical information to individuals with disabilities, advocates and state and local officials responsible for complying with the ADA’s integration mandate.
“The Olmstead decision recognized the rights of individuals with disabilities to live the lives they choose, but its promise has not yet been fully realized. Far too many people remain segregated in institutions when they would rather be thriving in their communities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to making the promise a reality, and will continue to aggressively enforce Olmstead.”
President Obama has made clear his commitment to Olmstead enforcement, and in 2009 launched “The Year of Community Living,” directing agencies to vigorously enforce Olmstead and the rights of individuals with disabilities. Since that time, the Civil Rights Division has made Olmstead enforcement a top priority, joining or initiating Olmstead litigation in more than 25 cases in 17 states. In 2010, the division reached a landmark settlement agreement with the state of Georgia that will allow thousands of individuals with disabilities to receive services in community settings, and will serve as a model for comprehensive agreements going forward.
For more information about the ADA, including how to file complaints related to Olmstead enforcement, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY), or access the department’s ADA website at www.ada.gov/olmstead . For the full technical assistance document, please visit www.ada.gov/olmstead/q&a_olmstead.htm.