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Lately, Free Lance-Star articles have highlighted the commonwealth of Virginia and U.S. Department of Justice's settlement agreement for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, or I/DD.
The Free Lance-Star's May 1 editorial titled "Choosing care" likens the class of people with developmental disabilities to people with dementia and suggests that thinking that people with developmental disabilities should have the option of going out into the community is flawed reasoning.
Dementia and developmental disabilities have different diagnostic criteria.
A study of people with
Some families of those living in the institutions--fewer than 1,000 people--are concerned that their loved ones will not have the care and services they need in the community, and cite past failure living in the community.
The community has changed vastly, with many options for community living now available.
A reading of the settlement agreement details the extensive discharge planning process that includes the individual, families, and pro-fessionals who must plan for success.
There are prescribed follow-up and monitoring processes for each individual, and the requirement that remedies must be in place.
The settlement agreement also requires new services including a comprehensive crisis response service.
The Department of Justice agreement with Virginia provides hope to individuals, families, and friends of those with disabilities; 7,000 are waiting for services in the community and do not want institutional services that are costly.
By promoting community support, the settlement brings Virginia more in line with reasonable, ethical provisions for those with disabilities.