- Virginia, Justice Department reach settlement
- It covers services for those with developmental disabilities
In a closely watched case with implications for other states, Virginia reached a broad settlement with the Justice Department Thursday on protecting the legal rights of people with developmental disabilities, both physical and intellectual. The agreement also will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Virginia agreed to provide an estimated 5,000 citizens with community services that will allow them to live in community-based settings, including family homes, rather than being institutionalized.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is pressing states to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that says the developmentally disabled have a right to receive services in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs.
Justice officials say the case is particularly relevant to ongoing investigations in Oregon, Florida and Utah. In addition, the Justice Department has issued its findings but not yet reached agreement with officials in New Hampshire, North Carolina and Mississippi.
The Justice Department has reached agreements previously with Georgia and Delaware.
Virginia has allocated $60 million to help integrate the individuals covered, and the federal government will match that with Medicaid waivers, according to Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who announced the settlement.
Perez, an Obama administration appointee, praised Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and other GOP leaders in Virginia for their cooperation in reaching the agreement. Perez says he is confident the agreement to minimize the institutionalization of individuals will save Virginia money in the long run.
The settlement follows a federal investigation of Virginia's system that found the commonwealth had ADA violations.