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Nebraska Olmstead Plan Update!

Courtney Miller, Director of Developmental Disabilities Services in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently announced that, “…DHHS has entered into a contract with Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) consulting services to partner with us for the development of the Nebraska Olmstead Plan. We are very fortunate to have secured funding through the Nebraska DD Planning Council to move forward with achieving the plan. TAC has assigned a highly qualified team to this project and their consultants have expertise in services and housing across disabilities. The TAC team will be led by Sherry Lerch and Marie Herb, both senior staff who have worked in Nebraska previously.

This project plan has three phases:
• Phase One: TAC will perform a system scan and analysis to develop a general baseline of the services, housing and other factors that support the ability of people with disabilities to live in integrated community-based settings.
• Phase Two: TAC will meet onsite with the state team, the Advisory Committee, and conducting key stakeholder interviews.
• Phase Three: TAC will draft and finalize the Olmstead Plan.

The targeted timeline allows for the completed strategic plan to the Governor and Legislature by December 15, 2018 as specified in LB1033.”

Backstory: Disability Rights Nebraska Senior Staff Attorney Dianne DeLair and our Public Policy Team worked closely with Senator Kathy Campbell to develop the language for LB 1033. The bill was passed on April 12, 2016 and signed into law. Part of the bill created a stakeholder advisory committee to assist in the development of the plan and Dianne DeLair is now an active member of the committee.

A primary focus of Disability Rights Nebraska is to clear the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from living, working, and learning in the most inclusive settings and we are optimistic about this latest advance toward an Olmstead Plan. We recognize and salute the Nebraska Developmental Disabilities Planning Council for stepping up to fund this important work!

Why is the Olmstead decision and the plan so important? Olmstead, or Olmstead v. LC, is the name of the most important civil rights decision for people with disabilities in our country's history. This 1999 United States Supreme Court decision was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Supreme Court held that people with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state funded supports and services in the community rather than institutions when the following three-part test is met:

• the person's treatment professionals determine that community supports are appropriate;
• the person does not object to living in the community; and
• the provision of services in the community would be a reasonable accommodation when balanced with other similarly situated individuals with disabilities.

Read stories of real people who have been impacted by the Olmstead decision here:
• OLMSTEAD V. LC: HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS, and Olmstead Speaks: Eight People Impacted by Olmstead in Their Own Words – from the website created by the Disability Integration Project of Atlanta Legal Aid Society
• Photo from Disability Pride Day 2018, Lincoln, NE