Olmstead subcabinet wrapping up work shortly

The long-awaited draft of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan is now on the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) website. The draft […]

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The long-awaited draft of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan is now on the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) website. The draft reflects comments made at public hearing held around the state over the past several weeks. The plan will help ensure Minnesotans with disabilities have the opportunity to learn, work and enjoy life in the most integrated setting.

The subcabinet has a meeting tentatively scheduled for final plan approval, at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 22 in the state capitol room 123, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul. Check to see if the meeting is being held.

Anyone needing accommodations or modifications because of a disability, let staff know what type of accommodation or modification is needed, at [email protected]. Make contact at least two weeks before the meeting and provide information in the email about the type of assistance needed.

Changes and additions to the plan are ongoing, with the goal of having the plan completed later this year. Agency teams are working to incorporate expert and stakeholder feedback in developing specific plans in areas such as employment, housing, and transportation. The current draft (along with other resources, such as notes from subcabinet listening sessions) on Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan web pages, at www.dhs.state.mn.us and go to the Olmstead page.

To provide feedback, use the contact form on the Minnesota Olmstead Planwebsite or send an email to [email protected]

All states are required to have an Olmstead Plan, as a result of a June 1999 U.S, Supreme Court decision. The State of Georgia was sued for unnecessarily institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities. The court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires states to provide services to people with disabilities in the “most integrated settings” appropriate to their needs. That means people have the right to live in their communities with appropriate services and supports, and not be institutionalized.

Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan got a jump start as a result of the December 2011 settlement of a lawsuit against Minnesota Extended Treatment Options. By executive order, Gov. Mark Dayton established the Olmstead Sub-Cabinet and asked the group to develop and implement a comprehensive plan supporting freedom of choice and opportunity for people with disabilities.

In 2012, the Minnesota Olmstead Planning Committee discussed public programs to see what works, what doesn’t work, and how to fix the parts that don’t work. On October 23, 2012, Minnesota’s Olmstead Planning Committee presented a report to DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. The report included recommendations to ensure that Minnesotans with disabilities have choices about where they live and are served in community settings more suitable to their needs and desires.

One of the committee’s recommendations asked “that the Governor establish an Olmstead Sub-Cabinet to ensure the most efficient and effective interagency coordination, planning and implementation of an Olmstead Plan.”

A subcabinet has been meeting to develop the draft plan. Each state department has prepared a summary of information on its Olmstead-related activities. The overviews typically include a description of current services, goals to be reached, activities addressing accessibility needs, and descriptions of barriers to achieving integration. Some overviews include proposals for community engagement. Others list the fiscal impacts of providing accommodations or other services.

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