Some parents of disabled children are alarmed by the Department of Developmental Service’s proposed new housing policy, issued on September 2nd that would eliminate the policy is not yet final -- hearings are scheduled on November 6 and 12, with time and location to be announced – but there is no doubt that significant change is in the air.
The policy, entitled “Home and Community Based Settings Policy,” follows on the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)’s new requirements for community service settings, both residential and day, which became effective on March 17, 2014. The spirit behind the new law is very good – disabled people should not be isolated in an institutional setting, away from the rest of us, but rather live among us. Under the DDS proposal, it would no longer fund:
- Settings that have limited, if any, interaction with the broader community;
- Settings that use or authorize restrictions that are used in institutional settings;
- Farmsteads or disability-specific farm community;
- Gated or secured communities for people with disabilities;
- Settings that are part of or adjacent to a residential school;
- Multiple settings co-located and operationally-related that congregate a large number of people with disabilities for significant shared programming and staff, and
- Multiple settings on a single site or in close proximity.