OR judge approves Lane v. Brown settlement agreement ending sheltered workClick To Tweet2016 is turning out well for an estimated 7,000 Oregonians who have been or are at risk of being segregated in sheltered workshops. Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon approved the Lane v. Brown settlement agreement, promising 1,115 working-age individuals currently in sheltered workshops the opportunity to obtain competitive integrated employment.
Nearly four years ago, residents with disabilities and advocates filed a class action lawsuit against the State of Oregon for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead v. L.C. by segregating individuals with disabilities in settings where they have little to no interaction with non-disabled peers. In September of 2015, state officials, the U. S. Department of Justice, and attorneys for individuals with disabilities negotiated the now approved settlement agreement. The agreement contains the following resolutions:
- By June 30, 2017, Oregon will reduce the number of individuals with I/DD in sheltered workshops from approximately 1,925 to 1,530 and decrease the total time that adults with I/DD spend in sheltered workshops from approximately 93,530 to 66,100 hours a year;
- The state will ensure that 1,115 working-age individuals currently in sheltered workshops obtain competitive integrated employment by June 30, 2022;
- Supported employment services shall be based on an individual’s capabilities, choices, and strengths. People who receive supported employment services in an integrated employment setting under this proposed Agreement will have a goal of working the maximum number of hours consistent with their abilities and preferences, without regard to the availability of employment opportunities;
- By July 1, 2022, Oregon will ensure that at least 4,900 people between the ages of 14 and 24 receive state employment services and at least half will receive, at a minimum, an individualized employment plan through OVRS that should lead to competitive employment;
- The State will establish a goal that individuals with I/DD who receive supported employment services under the Agreement work in an integrated employment setting at least 20 hours per week;
- Local educational agencies may not include sheltered workshops in the continuum of alternative placements and supplementary aids and services provided to students and school instructional curricula shall not include activities similar to sheltered workshops;
- A neutral Independent reviewer shall be selected the parties or the Court to assess the state’s compliance; and
- Oregon shall substantially implement and maintain the terms and systemic improvements of Executive Order 15-01 that enhance employment services for individuals with I/DD with the goal of competitive, integrated employment.