VOR Questions DOJ Civil Rights Appropriations; Calls for Choice
In response to a request by the Department of Justice for an additional $1.5 million and 50 positions (including 25 attorneys) for the Civil Rights Division, VOR submitted written testimony to “protect the interests of the residents of ICFs/DD and their families to be the primary decision-makers regarding where they reside” and pointed to abuses in several states where DOJ attorneys did not consult with families prior to taking action and sought closure of facilities contrary to the residents’ choice and welfare.
Specifically, “in response to the blatant and repeated disregard of the ADA requirement for individual choice of residency by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division,” VOR asked Senate and House appropriators to include the following language in the DOJ Civil Rights Division appropriations:
(1) In any action taken by the Department of Justice, including investigations, that involves the residents of an ICF/ID, DOJ shall consult with the residents (or, if a resident has a legal representative, the resident's legal representative) and families among all other interested parties before taking action.
(2) If, after taking action, families wish to intervene on behalf of their family member with ID/DD in the DOJ action, DOJ is encouraged to support such intervention.
VOR’s testimony will be part of the Senate and House Subcommittees’ report on the hearings.