Judge in NC orders more home and community-based supports for people with disabilities

November 18, 2022

Disability Rights North Carolina filed a lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of a woman named Samantha and others with intellectual and development disabilities (I/DD) who were institutionalized or who risked institutionalization in 2018 because the state failed to provide the support they need to live in the community.

In 2020, Judge Allen Baddour ruled that the state was violating state law by denying people with I/DD the choice to live in their communities instead of institutions. Judge Baddour gave the state ample time and numerous opportunities to provide him with a plan with measurable goals that would ensure that people with I/DD wouldn’t be discriminated against, through unnecessary institutionalization. He carefully considered the information the state and DRNC provided.

This month, the judge issued an order with measurable timelines and goals.  This ruling requires that the state must divert and transition of people with I/DD who want to live in the community, not institutions, over the next 9 years, addressing the direct support professional shortage; and eliminate the Innovation (IDD Medicaid) Waiver waitlist of over 16,000 in 10 years.  The judge ordered that the state report on their compliance with this

Here in South Carolina, we have an opportunity to expand home and community-based services for people with disabilities.  Like North Carolina, our state has a high number of individuals who are institutionalized or at-risk of institutionalization, due to lack of community-based services.  Our state has a high number of people on a waiting listing for waiver services.  Finally, we face the same challenge of a workforce shortage for direct support professionals needed for home and community-based services.    Disability Right South Carolina is working on a comprehensive report about the history of home and community based supports in our state and whether South Carolinas current policies and procedures are in compliance with federal law. This report will address the same issues being addressed in North Carolina about how we as a state can address unnecessary institutionalization and create a roadmap toward expanding home and community-based options for people with disabilities.   We plan to release this report in February 2023. There is a lot to do in South Carolina and we hope this important win in North Carolina will be a vision for change for our state.


Ruling Samantha R., et al. v North Carolina and the NC Department of Health and Human Services

Read Samantha’s Story 

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