The Olmstead Initiative is DDD’s plan for moving 1,850 residents from its seven developmental centers into the community over eight years. This plan is outlined in a document called Path to Progress, which was released in May, 2007. The Path to Progress provides a blueprint for expanding living options in the community for people with developmental disabilities by developing more resources such as:
- Accessible housing
- Health care
- Nursing services
- Mental health services
- Physical, speech and occupational therapies
- Social and recreational activities, and
- Opportunities for employment
The Path to Progress also outlines a process for allowing developmental center residents and their families and/or guardians to learn about and choose from among a number of different types of housing and services. DDD has qualified more than 100 agencies to provide these services and to meet varying levels of behavioral and medical needs.
It takes 12-15 months to develop the necessary supports that will allow a single individual to move to the community. Once an individual moves, DDD monitors his or her situation through personal staff visits for up to three years. A crisis response system also has been developed to help individuals remain in the community.
The Path to Progress was drafted in response to a series of events that began in June, 1999, when the U.S. Supreme Court released its landmark decision Olmsted v. L.C. and E.W. The Court ruled that individuals with disabilities who live in institutions, but who are able to live in the community with appropriate supports, have the right to do so if they desire.