For more information, contact:
P.O. Box 70
Herington, Kansas 67449
In response to the motion, the defendants decided to close the institutions. However, the defendants recognized that the community service system would need major improvements in order to adequately serve the people with severe disabilities who were still in the institutions. Accordingly, the defendants agreed to implement a detailed Plan of Action to improve the infrastructure for the community-based service system, and also signed a Joint Stipulation on Disengagement that established the criteria and process for ending the lawsuit. The Stipulation required the appointment of a Community Monitor to conduct annual audits of services to class members, and to report upon the status of compliance with the Stipulation. The defendants retained consultants jointly selected by the parties, including an Internal Compliance Monitor, to assist them in implementing the Plan of Action. The Stipulation and Plan were entered as a remedial order of the federal court in December 1997.
The defendants have completed approximately half of the requirements of the Plan and Stipulation. Progress has been made in establishing regional offices, creating a staff training program, and improving behavioral services. However, some of the deficiencies identified in 1990 have not been corrected. Problems continue with segregated day services, insufficient supported employment services, and inadequate implementation of Individual Service Plans. The Community Monitor's annual audits show that many of the problems are directly related to a series of systemic obstacles -- structural problems which fundamentally impede the service system's ability to meet the needs of class members. The obstacles include, among others: (1) an inadequate number of quality service providers and clinicians; (2) turnover and variable competency of direct care staff; (3) lack of health care coordination (4) inadequate individual and person centered planning; (5) lack of purposeful integrated services; (6) inadequate use, appropriateness or availability of needed devices; and (7) lack of availability and involvement of guardians, many of whom are now elderly or disabled themselves.
Motions to Show Cause were filed by the Plaintiffs and Intervener Arc (May 2004) along with a motion by the Plaintiffs to Re-engage Case Management. After several months of mediated negotiations, the parties have agreed to a Joint Stipulation intended to obligate Defendants to take certain actions outside the 1997 Plan of Action. The agreed upon actions are intended to facilitate compliance with the JSD, to promote completion of certain 1998 Audit recommendations, to further address case management even though Plan of Action Desired Outcomes related to case management have been previously disengaged by an order of the Court and to address certain aspects of Vocational Rehabilitation. The original JSD remains in full force and effect.
Community Practice Reviews: The focus of this website
As mentioned earlier, the Joint Stipulation requires the Community Monitor to conduct annual audits of services to class members, and as a result of these audits to submit reports of what was found. This website provides information regarding the process and content of these audits which are called Community Practice Reviews.