The Minnesota Olmstead Plan is a set of goals our State must meet so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work, and enjoy life alongside everyone else in the community. The Plan will give people with disabilities the opportunity to
In short, it will offer Minnesotans with disabilities opportunities just like everyone else.
The most recent version of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan was approved on April 26, 2021. You can read the most current plan here: Minnesota Olmstead Plan Documents and Reports library
You can read a plain language version of the 2020 revision, which is easier to understand than the official document, here: Minnesota Olmstead Plan - Plain Language - December 2020.pdf
We want Minnesota to be a place where:
People with disabilities live, learn, work, and enjoy life alongside everybody else in the community.
We want people with disabilities to have the same chance as people without disabilities to:
To get to our vision, people with disabilities need choices about where to live, learn and work. They need information about their choices and to understand their right to decide for themselves. Some people with disabilities need individualized support that allows them to live as independently as possible.
The Minnesota Olmstead Plan has goals that the State of Minnesota needs to reach. The Minnesota Olmstead Plan also says what needs to happen to reach our goals and which state agencies are responsible.
The people in a group called the Olmstead Subcabinet help make sure the State follows the Minnesota Olmstead Plan. The Olmstead Subcabinet includes these departments and offices:
All of these State departments and offices play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities. All of them are responsible for making sure the Minnesota Olmstead Plan is successful. If they aren't meeting their goals, the Olmstead Implementation Office works with the State Agency leaders to help them find ways to do better.
“Olmstead” is the last name of a person. That person was part of an important court case called Olmstead versus L.C., which was decided in 1999.
Two women from Georgia who have disabilities wanted to live in their community, not in an institution. But Tommy Olmstead, who worked for the state government in Georgia, would not let them live where they wanted. The Supreme Court said the women should not have to live in an institution.
The Supreme Court said states couldn’t keep people with disabilities from living, working, or interacting with people who don’t have disabilities. The court said people with disabilities have the right to make their own decisions about their lives. The United States Constitution and a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) give people with disabilities these rights.
You can read more about the Olmstead court case and how it helps people with disabilities at this U.S. Government website: Olmstead Community Integration for Everyone.
You can find out how Minnesota helps people with disabilities get the medical care and equipment they need on this U.S. Government website: Medicaid & CHIP in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Olmstead Plan is like our map. It tells us how to get to our vision of people with disabilities to live, learn, work, and enjoy life in the most integrated setting.
In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton used his power as governor to create the Olmstead Subcabinet and told that group to write the Minnesota Olmstead Plan. You can read Governor Dayton's Executive Order in our Related Documents and Reports Library here: 2013-01-28 Executive Order 13-01.pdf
We also have this plan because some Minnesotans with disabilities sued the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). That court case is called Jensen. These people were living in a place just for people with disabilities, and DHS was in charge of the facility where they lived. You can read the Court's orders in the Jensen case in our Court Documents library.
The State of Minnesota and the people who sued DHS agreed to use the Minnesota Olmstead Plan to make things better for all people with disabilities in Minnesota.
Below is a brief history highlighting the efforts that resulted in the current Minnesota Olmstead Plan. You can find a more detailed history of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan on this website: With an Eye to the Future
In December, the Minnesota Department of Health (DHS) entered into a settlement agreement with the people who sued the agency in Jensen. The agreement required the creation of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan.
The Minnesota Olmstead Planning Committee was created. It included people with disabilities, family members, advocates, staff from DHS, and people who worked for service providers. The Committee made recommendations to Commissioner of DHS Lucinda Jesson. One of the recommendations asked the Governor to create an Olmstead Subcabinet to make sure that state agencies worked together well to plan and make changes.
In January of 2013, Governor Mark Dayton issued Executive Order 13-01 which created the Olmstead Subcabinet and told that group to write and put into place a plan that supported freedom of choice and opportunity for people with disabilities.
Throughout 2013, the Olmstead Subcabinet worked on several drafts of the Olmstead Plan and held listening sessions to hear from people in Minnesota about it. A monitor who was appointed by the Court told the Court that there was more work to be done on the plan before should be approved.
In January of 2014, the Court provisionally approved the Olmstead Plan, which meant that it would not be totally approved until some changes were made and other work done. In September, the Court did not adopt the Olmstead Plan for several reasons, including that it lacked measurable goals.
Throughout 2014, the Olmstead Subcabinet continued to work on the Olmstead Plan. The OIO was also created, staffed, and given a budget.
In January of 2015, the Court again provisionally approved a revised version of the Olmstead Plan. Also, Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 15-03, which said more about what the Olmstead Subcabinet needed to do.
Throughout 2015, the Olmstead Subcabinet continued to work on the Olmstead Plan. They also worked on approving State Agencies’ work plans and agreed on the processes the Subcabinet would use to make sure the Olmstead Plan was put into place. During this time, the Court again declined to adopt the Olmstead Plan.
In August, a revised version of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan was submitted to the Court, where it was approved in September.
Every year the Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO) gets feedback from people about the Olmstead Plan and makes changes.
The OIO asks people with disabilities, “Are we reaching the goals of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan? Are we closer to our destination?” Like on a road trip, even with a map, you might take a wrong turn. So, we check to see if we’re heading in the right direction. If we find things blocking our way, we update the Minnesota Olmstead Plan to get back on the right path.