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What Minnesota Is Doing To Improve Services For People With Disabilities

MN Capitol Building

Minnesota has been at the forefront of the self-determination movement which leads people with disabilities to make their own choices based on their preferences and interests. The State of Minnesota including self-advocates, the Department of Human Services, provider agencies and advocacy organizations is working to further this movement and promote environments designed to truly improve the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly. The following initiatives are examples of support for people with disabilities in Minnesota.

 

Minnesota’s Olmstead PlanThe Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Olmstead Plan gets its name from a 1999 United States Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C. In this case, the State of Georgia was sued for unnecessarily institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities. The court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require states to provide services to people with disabilities in the “most integrated settings” appropriate to their needs. Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan recognizes that individuals with disabilities want choices in where they live, where they work or go to school, and how they participate in community life. It also addresses barriers that people have to full integration within their communities and how these can be remedied.

 

A sub-cabinet was established in April 2013 to develop and implement a plan, and the plan was submitted this past July.
For more information or to view the actual plan click here.

 

5% Campaign – This campaign was initiated by self-advocates, families, advocacy and provider organizations and became a nonpartisan coalition working together to seek legislation in 2014 for a 5% rate increase for disability and elderly home and community based services. This campaign was completely successful as the Minnesota legislature fully funded this increase. The backbone of this campaign is that life in the community is the best option for those with disabilities and the elderly. The critical supports of this state funding allow people to be more independent, by providing staffing and transportation so that people can be active and safe in their communities.

 

Reform hiring practices to include people with disabilities – Governor Mark Dayton’s recent executive order aims to double the number of people with disabilities that are employed. Currently that number is only 3.5%, he wants it to be 7% by 2018. The national unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice the national average. In addition to mandating that state agencies hire more disabled employees, the executive order also includes other reforms, such as requiring all state hiring managers and human resources personnel to undergo training on the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities, and to report their progress every quarter.

 

Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) – The Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) will soon replace the Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program in Minnesota. This is a statewide program designed to provide assistance and support to people with disabilities and the elderly to help them live independently in the community. The CFSS program will be much more flexible than the traditional PCA program it is replacing. Some of the flexibility comes from hiring one’s own support staff, being able to use money for things besides human assistance, like home modifications and technology. It gives people more responsibility over their services and supports with an overall goal of supporting community living and avoiding institutional care.

 

For more information on the new CFSS program click here.

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