Olmstead Massachusetts

In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), indicating that states have a legal obligation to administer programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities. This decision recognized that a state may satisfy this obligation through development of a comprehensive, effective working plan for placing qualified persons with disabilities in less restrictive settings. These plans are known as Olmstead Plans. Our state is beginning to work on a new Olmstead plan and it is has sent out requests for listening sessions and advisory council members. The Arc’s testimony at the listening session may be found below. Keep up with the state’s process here.

The Arc has utilized Olmstead both in its legislative and legal advocacy. Massachusetts policy makers have been responsive to our requests and most recently this has been reflected on the funding commitment for adult community services known as “Turning 22”.

The Commonwealth’s current Olmstead Plan was released in 2008. Policy makers have cited accomplishments such as:

  • Reducing the number of state schools
  • Reducing the number of state hospital beds
  • Closing sheltered workshops
  • Expanding capacity for services and supports that allow individuals with disabilities to live, work and spend leisure time in settings that are integrated into the community

The Arc of Massachusetts will track the progress of the plan’s development. The Arc provided a memorandum to the Commonwealth in June 2017, regarding an effective Olmstead Plan for our constituents and others. You can find it here.