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AUCD Celebrates the Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision

June 21, 2024

Saturday, June 22, 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Olmstead v. L.C. decision, which declared that people with disabilities have a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act to live and participate in their communities.

The 1999 Olmstead decision fundamentally changed the lives of Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who had both been languishing in an institution for years. Curtis and Wilson filed and won a suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that allowed them to move to a community-based setting. Since then, many people have been freed from institutional or segregated settings and are now living and working in the communities they choose.

Since Olmstead, significant advances have been made to ensure people with disabilities transition from institutions to community-based settings with appropriate supports and services. In addition, many states are closing the front door to institutional care and helping people obtain and keep jobs and find homes within their communities, rather than entering an institution. Increasingly, public policy is promoting and requiring federal funding be used to support individuals' opportunities to live, work, and participate fully in their communities.

We applaud these trends while also recognizing that many people with disabilities continue to face barriers to individualized community supports. AUCD believes that every person with a disability deserves to be in the community where they can live the life they choose with dignity.

AUCD joins with other members of the civil rights community in celebrating the progress our society has made in the 20 years since the Olmstead decision, and is committed to continuing the ongoing work needed to fulfill its promise of full inclusion for all members of all communities.

Liz Weintraub, AUCD's Senior Policy Advocate shares her thoughts about the Olmstead Act and her appreciation for Lois and Elaine. 

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Topic(s): Community Living , Policy and Advocacy