Justice Department Finds State of South Carolina Unnecessarily Segregates Adults with Mental Illness in Adult Care Homes
July 7, 2023
The Justice Department announced yesterday that it has concluded an investigation into whether the State of South Carolina subjects adults with mental illness to unnecessary institutionalization and serious risk of institutionalization in adult care homes, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Justice Department determined that there is reasonable cause to believe South Carolina violates the ADA by failing to provide sufficient community-based services to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of adults with mental illness. Instead, the state subsidizes their stay in adult care homes where they have little contact with people without disabilities, often leaving the homes only for medical appointments and group visits to grocery and convenience stores. Critical services that would allow adults with mental illness to live instead in their own homes and communities are not sufficiently available across the state. You can read the full DOJ report on their website.
In February 2023 Disability Rights South Carolina (DRC) and the South Carolina Institute for Public Health (IMPH) published a report called the “Opportunities for South Carolina to Strengthen Home and Community-Based Services for People with Disabilities” . More than 1.3 million South Carolinians live with a disability and many of them live in an institutional setting. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Olmstead v. L.C., ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits unnecessary segregation in such settings. People with disabilities have a right to live and receive services in a community-based setting — providing them independence and opportunities to fully participate in their communities.
“It has been 24 years since the Olmstead ruling, and South Carolina still does not have a working Olmstead Plan with concrete commitment to providing people with disabilities the opportunities to live, work and receive services in their communities. This new Department of Justice report stresses the importance of South Carolina Olmstead Plan” says Beth Franco, executive director of DRSC.