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DOJ to investigate treatment of adults with mental health disabilities in Missouri
Kansas City Star - 11/16/2022
The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday it has launched an investigation into whether Missouri “unnecessarily institutionalizes” adults with serious mental health disabilities in nursing facilities.
The investigation, opened under the Americans with Disabilities Act, will look to determine if those adults could be served in the community, such as in supported housing or through crisis services.
Investigators also want to know if Missouri’s use of guardianship for people with mental disabilities, in which someone is appointed to make decisions for them, “contributes to unnecessary placements in nursing facilities,” the department said.
“People with disabilities have too often been unlawfully isolated in institutions and stripped of their autonomy,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to defend the rights of individuals with mental health disabilities to access the community-based services they need and to participate fully in community life.”
DOJ officials have not reached any conclusions, as the probe just started. The department encouraged anyone with information to contact it at Community.Missouri@usdoj.gov or through a portal at www.civilrights.justice.gov.
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