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Public Policy Advocacy

Most Integrated Setting

Disability Rights Nebraska, the designated Protection and Advocacy system for persons with disabilities in Nebraska, is guided by a vision where Nebraskans with mental or physical disabilities are valued within their communities, have control over their own lives, and have the necessary resources available to experience a life of quality. As such, we firmly believe that all people with disabilities should be afforded every opportunity to live in their community of choice with dignity and equality.

We were pleased to support Legislative Bill 8952 in the legislature. We supported the bill’s intent to analyze and plan for the future of the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) and the Bridges program. Given the decreasing census at BSDC, the ongoing significant operational costs, and the continued reliance on isolated and congregated institutional settings over community-based placement, such an examination is long overdue. While these are compelling reasons to assess the value of BSDC in 2017, it and all Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ICF/IDD) should be closed. Closure is the right thing to do. BSDC is but one ICF/IDD that is part of a larger issue of institutional segregation, congregation, and isolation. As such, we urge the legislature to build upon the foundation of LB 895 to expand its analysis towards the future of all ICF/IDDs in Nebraska.3

As of 2014, 15 states report having no state operated ICF/IDD institutions. 4 ICF/IDDs isolate, congregate, and segregate individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) from the rest of society. These facilities are the remnants of a time when abuse, neglect and stigmatization occurred behind closed doors. Today Nebraska agrees that people with I/DD should no longer live as second-class citizens and should be afforded the same opportunities as all Nebraskans. This is why Disability Rights Nebraska believes in and supports the phased closure of all ICF/IDDs.