DOJ Addresses Improperly Placed Children with Disabilities in FloridaImage Banner

DOJ Addresses Improperly Placed Children with Disabilities in Florida

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DOJ Addresses Improperly Placed Children with Disabilities in Florida

September 13, 2012

On September 4, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote a letter to Florida's attorney general, outlining several violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding children in the state.

DOJ investigated six large nursing facilities that house hundreds of children with medically complex or medically fragile conditions. In its letter, DOJ says that many of these children are segregated, growing up apart from their families and living among elderly nursing facility residents and other individuals with disabilities. According to the letter, “The state has planned, structured and administered a system of care that has led to the unnecessary segregation and isolation of children, often for many years, in nursing facilities.”
 
Under Title II of the ADA, states are required to provide services and supports for individuals with disabilities that will allow them to live at home with their families or in other integrated community settings. State health regulators have responded that they are complying with provisions of the law and that the services received by children in nursing facilities are medically necessary. Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration has been named as a defendant in a recently-filed lawsuit that makes the same allegations as the DOJ in its letter.
 
The DOJ concludes its letter with several recommendations to the state on ways to remedy the alleged ADA violations and notes that if the state does not correct its practices, the U.S. attorney general may initiate a lawsuit against the state.

More information can be found in this Miami Herald article.