NEW: Department of Justice Reaches Landmark ADA Settlement with RI
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
The landmark ten year agreement is the nation’s first statewide settlement to address the rights of people with disabilities to receive state funded employment and daytime services in the broader community, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.
Approximately 450,000 people with I/DD across the country spend their days in segregated sheltered workshops or in segregated day programs. The agreement significantly advances the department's work to enforce the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C, which requires persons with I/DD be served in the most integrated setting appropriate.
2,000 Rhode Islanders will have new job opportunities
As a result of the settlement, 2,000 Rhode Islanders with I/DD who are currently being served by segregated programs will have opportunities to work in real jobs at competitive wages. Additionally, over the next ten years, 1,250 students with I/DD will receive services to help transition into the workforce.
“Today’s agreement will make Rhode Island a national leader in the movement to bring people with disabilities out of segregated work settings and into typical jobs in the community at competitive pay,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “As Rhode Island implements the agreement over the next ten years, it will make a dramatic difference in the lives of people with disabilities, businesses and communities across the state. We congratulate Governor Chafee and state officials for signing this agreement, as we believe that Rhode Island will be a model for the nation with respect to integrated employment for people with disabilities.”
“The filing of today’s consent decree is a critically important event in Rhode Island history,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island. “It ushers in a new day of opportunity – opportunity for Rhode Island residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities to live, work and spend their recreational time alongside their fellow Rhode Islanders. It is an opportunity for this State to move forward; to recognize, finally, that we are better, stronger, when all of us – all of us –are interwoven in the fabric that is Rhode Island.”
Under the agreement, Rhode Island has agreed to provide:
- Supported employment placements that are individual, typical jobs in the community, that pay at least minimum wage, and that offer employment for the maximum number of hours consistent with the person’s abilities and preferences, amounting to an average of at least 20 hours per week across the target population;
- Supports for integrated non-work activities for times when people are not at work including mainstream educational, leisure or volunteer activities that use the same community centers, libraries, recreational, sports and educational facilities that are available to everyone;
- Transition services for students with I/DD, to start at age 14, and to include internships, job site visits and mentoring, enabling students to leave school prepared for jobs in the community at competitive wages;
- Significant funding sustained over a ten year period that redirects funds currently used to support services in segregated settings to those that incentivize services in integrated settings.
Regional Business Summit
The ten year agreement will allow the state to ensure that the services necessary to support individuals with I/DD in competitive, integrated jobs will not disappear with a change in administration or legislative leadership. As a result of this commitment, the business community has already stepped up to partner with the state. The U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), a network of Fortune 500 companies, and Walgreens will co-host a regional business summit in Rhode Island in June 2014 to explore how to improve those partnerships.
Result of ADA investigation
The agreement is the result of an ADA investigation that began in January 2013 into Rhode Island’s day activity service system for people with I/DD. The department, the state, and the City of Providence entered into an interim settlement agreement in June 2013. The interim settlement agreement focused on a single provider, which was one of the largest facility-based employment service providers in the state’s system, and a school-based sheltered workshop at a Providence, R.I., high school, which was a point of origin for many people entering the provider’s workshop.
The department continued its investigation of the statewide system, and in January 2014 issued findings determining that the statewide system over-relied on segregated services, to the exclusion of integrated alternatives, in violation of the ADA. The department found workers with I/DD in settings where they had little or no contact with persons without disabilities, and where they earned an average wage of $2.21 per hour. The investigation found that workers typically remain in such settings for many years, and sometimes decades. The department also found that students in Rhode Island schools were often not presented with meaningful choices to participate in integrated alternatives, such as integrated transition work placements and work-based learning experiences, which put students at serious risk of unnecessary postsecondary placement in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.
Related Slideshow: Top 30 Highest Paid Judges
Below are the top 30 highest paid judges, justices, and magistrates in the state judiciary. Judges and other top-earning members of the judiciary are listed from lowest to highest paid. Data includes both regular earnings as well as health care benefits. (The available records did not include the state contribution to judicial pensions.)
Note: Data was obtained from the State Controller’s Office. Pay and benefits are for the current fiscal year, which began in July. Data is current as of July 24, 2013. Salaries and benefits may be changed over the course of the year. In cases where compensation was the same, judges were listed in alphabetical order.
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