Olmstead Decision Leads Iowa Counties To Close Institutions
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 6, 2006
MUSCATINE, IOWA--Over the past several months, residents of Prairie Park Residential Care Facility have been moving into their apartments, homes or group homes across Muscatine County.
Five years ago, Prairie Park housed 52 residents with "mental-health related disabilities", according to the Muscatine Journal. As of last Monday, there were just 20 residents at the facility.
The last resident is scheduled to leave before March 31, when Prairie Park is expected to close its doors.
Neighboring Cedar County will close its residential facility on June 1, while Louisa County expects to close its facility sometime within the next few years.
"A lot of counties have been looking at their large residential care facilities and choosing to close them in favor of community-based settings for their residents," said Kathie Anderson-Noel, case management coordinator for Muscatine County Community Services.
One reason for the changes is that it saves money, the Journal noted, because the larger facilities are no longer being supported with federal funds since the U.S. Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead decision. The court ruled in Olmstead that unnecessarily institutionalizing people with disabilities violates their rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Another reason, according to county administrative assistant Nancy Schreiber, is that closing Prairie Park is a matter of "freedom of choice" for those residents.
"Prairie Park residential care facility will close its doors" (Muscatine Journal)