“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Nineteen years after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling opened the doors to integration, thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities continue to live and work in segregated settings that keep them in poverty and limit their daily autonomy.
These are among the principal findings of the state’s first comprehensive survey examining the quality of life of nearly 50,000 Minnesotans with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities who spend most of their time in settings such as group homes, nursing facilities and cloistered workplaces known as sheltered workshops.
The findings echo those of a 2015 special report by the Star Tribune, which found that Minnesota is among the most segregated states in the nation for working people with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism. The series also found that hundreds of people with disabilities are being sent, sometimes against their will, to state-licensed group homes where they live with strangers in settings far from home.
People in sheltered workshops were also more isolated socially, mostly limiting their daily interactions to other individuals with disabilities, the survey found. The study found that just 7.5 percent had competitive jobs in the community, while 10.7 percent worked in integrated jobs with employment supports. By comparison, 41 percent worked in segregated workshops or job crews composed of other people with disabilities, known as “enclaves.”
David Johnson, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, said the findings reveal an urgent need for more independent housing, transportation and vocational training for people with disabilities.
To read the entire article in the Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/segregation-and-inequality-persist-among-minnesotans-with-disabilities-study-says/478120353/
The comprehensive study can be found at https://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/olmstead/documents/pub/dhs-299179.pdf
[image description: the picture says disability rights are civil rights]