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Advocates' Blog


Disability Rights Nebraska Applauds U.S. Justice Department Findings That State of Nebraska Unnecessarily Institutionalizes Adults with Mental Illness

For immediate release: 5-14-24

For more information contact: Amy Miller, Monitoring Attorney: 402-210-9098

The Justice Department announced today that it has concluded an investigation into whether the State of Nebraska subjects adults with mental illness to unnecessary institutionalization in assisted living facilities and day program facilities, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Justice Department determined that there is reasonable cause to believe Nebraska violates the ADA by failing to provide sufficient community-based services to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of adults with mental illness. Instead, the state subsidizes their stay in mini institutions throughout the state where they have little contact with people without disabilities, often leaving the homes only for medical appointments and group visits to grocery and convenience stores. Critical services that would allow adults with mental illness to live instead in their own homes and communities are not sufficiently available across the state. You can read the full DOJ letter of findings on their website:

In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Olmstead v. L.C., ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits unnecessary segregation in such settings. People with disabilities have a right to live and receive services in a community-based setting — providing them independence and opportunities to fully participate in their communities.

“It has been 25 years since the Olmstead ruling, and Nebraska still does not have a working Olmstead Plan with concrete commitment to providing people with disabilities the opportunities to live, work and receive services in their communities.  This new Department of Justice letter of findings gives hope to every Nebraskan with a mental health disability who has been isolated and segregated,” said Dianne DeLair, Legal Services Director of Disability Rights Nebraska.

Tania Diaz, CEO of Disability Rights Nebraska, said, “Nebraskans with disabilities should be able to join the workforce, pursue an education, volunteer and participate in the community free from discrimination. Twenty-five years has been long enough to wait. The time is now for the State of Nebraska to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

Disability Rights Nebraska is the Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities in Nebraska. We protect, support and promote the rights of people with disabilities.  This includes people with just about any disability including intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness and physical disabilities. Learn more here.