"Advocates For Disabled Say Thousands May Be In Institutions
August 23, 2004
TOPEKA, KANSAS--Saturday's Lawrence Journal-World ran a story about efforts by community living advocates to get Kansans with disabilities out of the state's nursing homes.
The article explained how advocates with the Kansas Advocacy and Protective Services and the Topeka Independent Living and Resource Center are actively campaigning to get community supports for nursing home residents who want them.
Kansas has not yet fully complied with the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. & E.W., which found that states discriminate against people with disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act when they unnecessarily keep them in institutions and nursing homes.
"It's real simple," said KAPS attorney Kirk Lowry. "The Court said unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination. It hurts people."
"It's like in Brown v. Board of Education, the court said segregation was harmful to children of color," Lowry explained. "Segregation is inherently unequal. In Olmstead, the court said institutionalization is segregation -- you're taking someone out of mainstream society. States cannot promote segregation."
According to KAPS, last year 3,468 nursing home residents said they wanted out.
Steve Richardson, an independent living advocate at TILRC, said, "I'm convinced that people with disabilities are a Kansas crop. We're like wheat."
"People out there are making money off of us."
"Advocates for disabled say thousands may be in institutions needlessly" (Lawrence Journal-World)