Department of Justice Reaches Landmark Americans with Disabilities Act Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island

 

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Department of Justice Reaches Landmark Americans with Disabilities Act Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island

The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a statewide settlement agreement that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for approximately 3,250 Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  The landmark ten year agreement is the nation’s first statewide settlement to address the rights of people with disabilities to receive state funded employment and daytime services in the broader community, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.  Approximately 450,000 people with I/DD across the country spend their days in segregated sheltered workshops or in segregated day programs.  The agreement significantly advances the department’s work to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C, which requires persons with I/DD be served in the most integrated setting appropriate .

 

As a result of the settlement, 2,000 Rhode Islanders with I/DD who are currently being served by segregated programs will have opportunities to work in real jobs at competitive wages.  Additionally, over the next ten years, 1,250 students with I/DD will receive services to help transition into the workforce.

 

“Today’s agreement will make Rhode Island a national leader in the movement to bring people with disabilities out of segregated work settings and into typical jobs in the community at competitive pay,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “As Rhode Island implements the agreement over the next ten years, it will make a dramatic difference in the lives of people with disabilities, businesses and communities across the state.  We congratulate Governor Chafee and state officials for signing this agreement, as we believe that Rhode Island will be a model for the nation with respect to integrated employment for people with disabilities.”

 

“The filing of today’s consent decree is a critically important event in Rhode Island history,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island.  “It ushers in a new day of opportunity – opportunity for Rhode Island residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities to live, work and spend their recreational time alongside their fellow Rhode Islanders.  It is an opportunity for this State to move forward; to recognize, finally, that we are better, stronger, when all of us – all of us –are interwoven in the fabric that is Rhode Island.”

 

 

Under the agreement, Rhode Island has agreed to provide:

 

· Supported employment placements that are individual, typical jobs in the community, that pay at least minimum wage, and that offer employment for the maximum number of hours consistent with the person’s abilities and preferences, amounting to an average of at least 20 hours per week across the target population;

· Supports for integrated non-work activities for times when people are not at work including mainstream educational, leisure or volunteer activities that use the same community centers, libraries, recreational, sports and educational facilities that are available to everyone;

· Transition services for students with I/DD, to start at age 14, and to include internships, job site visits and mentoring, enabling students to leave school prepared for jobs in the community at competitive wages;

· Significant funding sustained over a ten year period that redirects funds currently used to support services in segregated settings to those that incentivize services in integrated settings.  

 

The ten year agreement will allow the state to ensure that the services necessary to support individuals with I/DD in competitive, integrated jobs will not disappear with a change in administration or legislative leadership.  As a result of this commitment, the business community has already stepped up to partner with the state.  The U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), a network of Fortune 500 companies, and Walgreens will co-host a regional business summit in Rhode Island in June 2014 to explore how to improve those partnerships.

 

The agreement is the result of an ADA investigation that began in January 2013 into Rhode Island’s day activity service system for people with I/DD.  The department, the state, and the City of Providence entered into an interim settlement agreement in June 2013.  The interim settlement agreement focused on a single provider, which was one of the largest facility-based employment service providers in the state’s system, and a school-based sheltered workshop at a Providence, R.I., high school, which was a point of origin for many people entering the provider’s workshop. 

 

The department continued its investigation of the statewide system, and in January 2014 issued findings determining that the statewide system over-relied on segregated services, to the exclusion of integrated alternatives, in violation of the ADA.  The department found workers with I/DD in settings where they had little or no contact with persons without disabilities, and where they earned an average wage of $2.21 per hour.  The investigation found that workers typically remain in such settings for many years, and sometimes decades.  The department also found that students in Rhode Island schools were often not presented with meaningful choices to participate in integrated alternatives, such as integrated transition work placements and work-based learning experiences, which put students at serious risk of unnecessary postsecondary placement in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.

 

Since June 2013, the state and city have provided supported employment services to people with I/DD transitioning from the original two facilities covered by the interim settlement agreement.  Many of these individuals have now accessed jobs in typical work settings where they can interact with non-disabled coworkers and customers, and enjoy the same employment benefits as their non-disabled peers.  Individuals have secured jobs at both locally owned and national companies. Because of the interim settlement agreement, Pedro , an individual who transitioned from the in-school sheltered workshop to the adult workshop, where he earned just 48 cents an hour, is now making minimum wage working at a restaurant.   Peter , another former sheltered workshop employee who was earning approximately $1.50 per hour, now has a job earning more than minimum wage working for the state as a custodian at a hospital.  Louis has gone from earning sub-minimum wages performing rote tasks at the sheltered workshop to a full-time position at a state hospital, where he uses his strong computer skills and passion for mathematics to generate Excel reports, record time sheets, and complete other office tasks.  For more information on these individuals and others, please visit the Department’s Faces of Olmstead website .

Please visit www.ada.gov/olmstead to learn more about the Division’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts, and www.justice.gov/crtto learn more about the laws enforced by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

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Civil Rights Division

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Center for Civil and Human Rights Celebration

Monday, June 23rd
10:00 a.m.-
Pemberton Place

 
Join us on the lawn of Pemberton Place for a Public Celebration as we welcome the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a landmark that opens a new chapter in Atlanta’s storied history.

This Celebration–free and open to the public–will recognize the significance of Atlanta’s newest global attraction.

Details at http://www.civilandhumanrights.org/Why/OurPurpose/PublicCelebration.html

The ADA Legacy Project Commends LBJ Presidential Library for Inclusion of Disability as Civil Right

The ADA Legacy Project joins ADAPT, the National Council on Disability, and the National Disability Leadership Alliance in commending officials at the LBJ Presidential Library for recognizing and presenting disability rights as civil rights.

The number of Americans living with disabilities is fast approaching 60 million. Many of us face or have had to face discrimination in one way or another in our lives: in public access, housing, transportation, employment, health care and community-based options.  Our struggle, too, is one of civil rights.

Again, we thank the LBJ Presidential Library for joining us in recognizing disability rights as civil rights. We believe this action will set the stage for routine inclusion of disability rights in any future discussions of or gatherings about civil rights across the nation.

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In addition, July 26, 2014 will mark 24 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),one of the major pieces of disabily civil rights legislation, was signed into law.

Currently, The ADA Legacy Project is partnering with disability groups, corporations, government agencies and individuals across the nation to plan and implement a national awareness tour intended to honor and preserve disability history and legacy, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, and educate the public concerning disability rights and justice.

On July 25, 2014, the The ADA Legacy National Tour will kick off in Houston, Texas, home of President George HW Bush, who signed the ADA into law. The exhibition of historic photos, documents and displays will open at the Abilities Expo in Houston before embarking upon a year-long, cross country tour. With anchor stops in all Abilities Expo cities, the exhibit will also be part of events in a number of cities and towns important to the history of disability, culminating in July 2015 in Washington DC, as part of the ADA 25 Gala, March and Rally, hosted by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and others.  Disability Rights Social Documentarian, Tom Olin will be accompanying the tour with the Disability Rights Center’s Road to Freedom Vehicle. The number of tour events will grow over the course of the next several months. To follow the tour or become involved please visit: adalegacy.com

 

Mortgage Assistance

Do you  need help with making your mortgage each month?  There’s a program “Home Safe Georgia” that may provide temporary assistance to you if you qualify.  Click here for more information.

You Are Invited

You are invited to celebrate the King Legacy Series at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  Click here for more details.

Webinar 2/26/14: Integrating Employment and Financial Capability Services

This invitation is forwarded from National Council on Independent Living

You are invited to join our partner, the LEAD Center for the webinar “Integrating Employment and Financial Capability Services – New Pathways to Economic Stability” on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EST
Register online.

The US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau work across agencies to advance positive financial behavior and greater economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. CFPB brings extraordinary new resources and expertise to help all jobseekers and workers, including persons with disabilities, increase their financial capability as they enter or advance in employment.

Did you know that almost 50% of employers are now reviewing credit scores before making a decision about hiring job applicants? Did you know that financial stress is a major reason for loss of worker productivity and increase absenteeism? CFPB offers a portfolio of new resources that will promote more informed decision making and better prepare jobseekers and workers with disabilities to set financial goals towards a better economic future. In the workforce development system, American Job Centers are testing new ways of bringing together financial education and financial empowerment services as part of core and intensive service delivery. Whether a workforce development professional or a person with a disability seeking to improve their economic status, this LEAD Center webinar will help you become familiar and better prepared to take full advantage of a new way of thinking about the integration of employment and financial capability services.

Individuals with disabilities live below the poverty level at a rate more than twice the national average. Economic advancement for both workers and job seekers with disabilities has never been more important. Join us on February 26, 2014 at 3pm ET to learn about the Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (DOL-ODEP) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) joint commitment to help workers with disabilities increase their financial capability as they enter or advance in employment.

Target Audience: Workforce Development Professionals, Individuals with Disabilities, Professionals from Partner Systems, and Related Stakeholders

  • Please note: This webinar will be captioned and a link to download the presentation will be sent to registrants prior to the webinar. To request any other reasonable accommodations, please contact Brittany Taylor at btaylor@ndi-inc.org within 48 hours of the webinar.

LEAD Center Logo

AAPD asks Atlanta for more accessible taxis

In a letter today to Mayor Kasim Reed, Mark Perriello, president of the American Assocation of People with Disabilities urged the city of Atlanta to increase its commitment to accessible transportation in Atlanta, pointing out that taxi cabs have become a major mode of public transportation and that lack of accessible taxis is a hindrance to tourism and business travel by people with disabilities in Atlanta.

For full letter, click here:AAPD Letter to Mayor Reed on Accessible Cabs

Georgia Gives Day

Georgia Gives Day takes place on November 13, 2013 - the day everyone in Georgia will be donating to the nonprofit of their choice through www.GAgivesday.org.  Please consider donating to the Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia.  All donations are tax-deductible and very much appreciated!

News from DC ADAPT Action

10/02/2013 NEWS ALERT:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For Information:
BruceDarling (585) 370-6690
JerryCostley (801) 347-0370
FranFulton (267) 275-4479

WHO: ADAPT
WHAT: Climb the Capitol Steps
WHERE: Steps of the Capitol on the EastSide of the Building
WHEN: Wednesday, October 2, 2013, at 2 PM

ADAPT To Climb Capitol Steps to Deliver Letter To Congress and the Administration Demanding That They Stop Playing Political Games With Our Lives And Get To Work

The following is an open letter from ADAPT to Congress and the
Administration:

An Open Letter to Congress and the Administration:

ADAPT is a national grassroots organization of activists working to change the systems that provide long term services and supports so that seniors and people with disabilities can live in the community instead of being forced into nursing facilities and other institutions.

Across the last 23 years, we have repeatedly tried to work with people from both sides of the political aisle to change federal policy. Instead of addressing the institutional bias that steals the freedoms guaranteed to us as Americans, you have been completely focused on supporting your “side” in the culture war. The Democrats support organized labor and the workers in these institutional settings, while Republicans support those who own these institutions or would rather eliminate funding for the services and supports we depend on to keep that money for themselves.
Neither side represents us the people who depend on these services.

We are not alone. Our plight is symbolic of all Americans whoare not represented by these not-so-special interests. We are the collateral damage of your culture war. This is unacceptable and must stop!

We are making our case by climbing these steps, because you won’t listen any other way. We need a government that works for us.

It’s time for you to get to work.

It’s time for you to govern this nation instead of using it as your playground for political games and brinksmanship.

It’s time for you to end Medicaid institutional bias so that all Americans with disabilities can live in freedom and share in the American dream.

The ADAPT Community

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FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at http://www.adapt.org/