The National Disability Rights Network has just released a report, Keeping the Promise: True Community Integration and the Need for Monitoring and Advocacy. This report summarizes two community monitoring projects that followed individuals leaving large institutions to live in community settings in Alabama and North Carolina. As stated by the network’s executive director Curt Decker, “We wanted to know if their lives had improved. Is life better in the community? What new opportunities had they found? Were they safe?”

These are important questions. The 1999 Olmstead Supreme Court decision forced states to think differently about how they provide long-term services to those in state psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers and nursing facilities. It forced states to develop plans for integrating people residing in large facilities into communities, and building a system of services to support community living.

Texas has had an Olmstead Plan for many years. Like most states, we have made progress, but we still have a long way to go to ensure access to appropriate supports and services for those who need them. Learn more about the Texas Olmstead committee, known as the Promoting Independence Advisory Committee, and the Texas Promoting Independence Plan.