|Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)|
That’s one reason why some disabled people are pushing Congress to pass the Disability Integration Act (DIA), a law that would codify the right to community-based services for disabled people and provide a clear mechanism for enforcement to keep them out of institutions. If they succeed, the law could be a powerful tool for civil rights in the coming years—but it likely has a slim chance of passing, considering the incoming administration and Congress.
Many nondisabled people are not familiar with the fight for deinstitutionalization and the push for community-based living. Well through the 1970s, nondisabled people broadly viewed institutions as the most appropriate place for disabled people in need of long-term support services, whether they needed mental health care or medical treatment for physical impairments. In theory, they offered secure and safe housing along with trained personnel to help people with activities of daily living (like bathing and dressing) as well as sometimes complex health-care needs, which might include feeding tubes, dressing changes, and other types of skilled nursing care. In practice, however, institutions often had an isolating effect, locking disabled people out of society and exposing them to the risk of physical and sexual abuse from indifferent or hostile caregivers.
The resurgence of the disability rights movement in the 1980s pushed for a shift in the way nondisabled society viewed institutions, building up support for deinstitutionalization that culminated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The law strongly encouraged giving disabled people the tools to live in their own communities, including robust anti-discrimination protections. (Click to Continue)
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Why Disabled People Are Pushing for the Right to Community-Based Services