Seventeen years ago, on June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court issued its landmark “Olmstead v. L.C.” decisionfundamentally changing the lives of Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who had both been languishing in an institution for years after their initial treatment ended. Lois and Elaine filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the Georgia facility.
The court ruled in their favor and, in doing so, affirmed the constitutional right to self-determination for Lois and Elaine, but also paved the way for other Americans with disabilities to live outside of institutions, opening avenues and opportunities to enhance our communities and our lives.
Even as we celebrate the 17th anniversary of the Olmstead decision, Sunrise recognizes that there is more work to do. As courts continue to apply and interpret what Olmstead means and how best to implement practices and policies that reflect its core principles of self-determination and inclusion, Sunrise continues our mission “to enable people with disabilities to live valued lives in the community.”
Today (and everyday,) Sunrise celebrates the notable expansion of the Olmstead integration mandate. It illustrates a shift in application that extends beyond institutionalization toward the meaningful allocation of community resources that foster self-determination and independence. Cases involvingwaiting lists for community services, access to durable medical supplies and equipment, personal care attendant services, individualized therapies and other supports have pushed states to make sure the services that are needed to live in the community are both funded and available.
With this trend in mind, Sunrise is more committed than ever to continue our proud legacy by fostering and facilitating the expansion of community living opportunities in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia!