Suit For Community Services Gets Class Action Status
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 19, 2003
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT--A lawsuit filed on behalf of 26 people with developmental disabilities seeking community services will now apply to 1,700 on the state's waiting list, a federal judge ruled last week.
Judge Janet Bond granted class action status to the lawsuit that was filed October 2001 against the Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation. The suit claims that the state is violating federal law by not providing money needed to reduce or eliminate the waiting list for housing and community supports. Some people have been on the waiting list for as long as 15 years.
DMR Commissioner Peter H. O'Meara, who is named as a co-defendant in the suit, said state lawmakers have given low priority to reducing the waiting list over recent years. O'Meara said the state only dedicated $250,000 to tackle the problem during the 2002 fiscal year compared to $15 million a few years ago.
The list for community services has been growing steadily since the early 1980s. Four hundred of the 1,700 on the list are considered "priority one" status. Thirty-eight need emergency housing, some because their parents are no longer able to care for them at home.
"Retarded adults gain advance in suit for housing, services" (Journal Inquirer)