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Intellectual Disability: Still Little Service and Support

Intellectual Disability: Still Little Service and Support

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities being served by Medicaid are not getting the community-based supports they need in every State, says report by United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).

The report, The Case for Inclusion 2008, ranks all 50 American States and the District of Columbia. At the top of the list from one to five: Arizona, Vermont, Alaska, Massachusetts, and California. At the bottom from 51 to 47: Mississippi, Texas, Illinois, District of Columbia, and Virginia.

“Every American wants the opportunity to live and work in their community,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP. “The top-performing states in our rankings do a better job promoting independence and productivity in safe, quality community settings, but we still have far too many people with disabilities not getting the service and supports they desperately want and need. Although we are pleased with the positive movement in several areas, we can and should do better.”

The findings indicate a positive trend toward more community inclusion with mixed results in some areas. Some of the report’s key findings:

  • Positively, more people are leaving large institutions, but still 41 states have 173 large state institutions (more than 16 beds) housing 37,700 Americans;

  • Positively, now 19 states – up from 16 last year - have more than 80 percent of those served living in home-like settings;

  • Negatively, a smaller portion of adults participated in competitive employment; and

  • Consistent with last year, 15 states report very large and long waiting lists for services.

“This report provides consumers, families and advocates a tool to compare how their State is performing in relation to the rest of the country,” said Tarren Bragdon, an expert in healthcare policy and author of The Case for Inclusion 2008 for UCP. “Despite much improvement over the last few decades, the report makes it clear that inclusion is not the reality for all Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Now, with this report, States can best understand and compare where they are doing well and prioritize those areas that need improvement.”

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