Disability Rights Ohio Does Not Speak for Everyone
Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are Entitled by Federal Law to Residential and Employment Choice
October 28, 2014
Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), a federally-funded legal aid organization, has sent a letter to Governor John Kasich and the Directors of the Departments of Developmental Disabilities, Medicaid, and Health Transformation, threatening Ohio with a lawsuit if the State does not take action to “significantly reduce” the number of persons residing in ICFs (Intermediate Care Facilities), and transition them to what DRO characterizes as “small, integrated, community-based” placements. DRO begins its letter by stating, “We write on behalf of thousands of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Ohio...in private intermediate care facilities.” DRO also seeks to reduce employment choice by denying individuals the right to workshop and day settings.
DRO’s claim that they speak for the 6,800 severely developmentally disabled Ohioans who reside in Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs), and others who benefit from employment choice, is outlandish and wholly untrue. Nor does DRO speak for the tens of thousands of parents, guardians, family members, and friends who know first-hand that an ICF and employment workshops give their loved ones a safe and nurturing home and productive days that will ensure their long-term happiness, and provide for their complex medical and physical needs.
DRO’s disregard for the unique desires and needs of people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) denies these individuals of their personhood and strips them of their constitutional rights to life, liberty (i.e. choice), and the pursuit of happiness.