Settlement Means Community Supports For Tens Of Thousands
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 25, 2006
AUSTIN, TEXAS--Tens of thousands of Texans with intellectual and other disabilities could come off the state's waiting list for community-based services, now that a four-year-old lawsuit filed by advocates and parents has been settled.
The Arc of Texas and Advocacy, Inc., the state's federally mandated protection and advocacy system, filed the suit in 2002 on behalf of 15 people with disabilities and their families. The advocates claimed that the Texas Home and Community Services and Community Living Assistance and Support Services programs violated the individuals' rights by failing to provide in-home and community-based supports in a timely manner, thereby putting them at risk of institutionalization.
When the suit was filed, about 15,000 people were on the waiting list. That number has since swelled to about 45,000, according to the American-Statesman.
Under the settlement, the state agencies agreed to ask lawmakers for enough money to reduce the waiting lists by as much as 60 percent by 2012.
"This is an issue that could potentially bring tremendous benefit to thousands of families across the state," said Mike Bright, executive director of the Arc of Texas. "Families can have hope that the state of Texas is going to be responding to a critical need as a result of this settlement."
"State settles with advocacy group on services for people with disabilities" (Austin American-Statesman)
"Settlement calls for faster care for the mentally disabled" (Houston Chronicle)