Minnesota takes next steps for people with disabilities
A subcabinet of state agency commissioners working to develop the next generation of opportunities for people with disabilities is seeking input throughout Minnesota this summer.
Beginning July 9, the subcabinet will hold listening sessions in St. Paul, Moorhead, Duluth and Rochester to gather citizen input on a draft Olmstead Plan, named after a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that expanded the rights of people with disabilities. The public can also comment on the plan online or by email.
Minnesota has long been a leader in services for people with disabilities and continues to look for opportunities to help people live as independently as possible and have choices about their lives. In a settlement of a 2011 federal court case involving the treatment of clients at a Minnesota Department of Human Services facility, the state set out to develop an Olmstead Plan. The draft plan is not only intended to carry out the actions agreed to in the settlement but also to chart a course that will help ensure Minnesotans with disabilities have the opportunity to learn, work, and enjoy life in the most integrated setting.
"I am proud to lead this effort, and it is one that Governor Dayton and I care deeply about. In Minnesota, we want to be a leader in providing choices for people with disabilities," said Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon, who chairs the subcabinet appointed by Governor Dayton.
The subcabinet consists of eight state agencies, the state's Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and the Executive Director of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Disabilities. The group is collaborating on a complex and challenging effort: to change not only the way state government provides support and services for persons with disabilities; but also to improve the quality and independence of people's lives.
Listening sessions being held across the state this summer, and other opportunities for input, give Minnesotans a chance to review and comment on those plans at an early stage. Individuals with disabilities, their families, advocacy organizations, service providers and others are encouraged to participate in this conversation and weigh-in on changes needed in housing, employment, transportation, supports and services, and community engagement. Based on feedback from the public and disability experts, the subcabinet will revise its draft plan and present a final version for consideration in November.
"Minnesota can be proud of the progress we have made to treat all people with dignity and respect, protecting and enhancing the rights of individuals to have a voice in the decisions that ultimately determine their quality of life," said Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon. "We still have more work to do and that's what this plan is all about."