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  • No crip counselors allowed.
  • Institution $$ To Go To Community, says VA Gov
  • NCD Looks at 1990 Congress ADA Thinking
  • Des Moines May Be Sued Over Access
    NC Gov Issues Sterilization Apology
  • Wheelchair users to be cited for 'speeding'
  • Hospital To Cut Treatments For Certain Patients
  • Heads Roll At Florida DCF
  • Woman Sues Over Nursing Home Placement
  • Beaten for Seeking Healing

    New MDA camp policy: No crip counselors allowed.
    Wichita, KS -- Segregated camps for kids with disabilities have been a sore point with some disability activists. Others, though, have pointed out the value of having crip kids hang for a few weeks with young adults -- volunteer camp staff -- who themselves have disabilities. Many organizations such as Easter Seals and MDA have run camps using former campers as staff, which can make for a rewarding experience for everyone.

    The good that comes from having disabled role models at camp may be lost, however, if a new policy from the Muscular Dystrophy Association is put into effect. "The new camp application requires that volunteers be able to 'lift and physically care for' a camper," according to information provided to Ragged Edge.

    Disabled camp volunteers who have worked at the Wichita MDA's Kansas City camp as senior camp counselors and sports directors have been protesting the new policy and trying to figure out what's behind it. It has to do with safety and liability, MDA staff have conceded, but the former camp staffers aren't buying it. "None of us are ready to give in to this load of crap," says one volunteer. "It's wrong and it better change."

    "Obviously [MDA policymakers] do not understand our camp and do not realize the value of providing for campers role models, persons with disabilities who have a lot to contribute," said another. "Some do not see the value of a volunteer beyond the person's ability to lift weight.

    Institution $$ To Go To Community, says VA Gov

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    RICHMOND, VA, Dec. 27, 2002 -- A new plan from VA Gov. Governor Mark R. Warner calls for moving money from institutions to community-based services for people with mental illnesses.

    Under the proposal, $21.7 million a year, beginning with fiscal year 2004, would be taken directly from the budgets of five state-run institutions and "reinvested" in the state's 40 Community Services Boards.

    "Community-based care acknowledges the dignity of every individual and their right to live as full members of society," said Warner in a press statement. "We are making this change because I am committed to making sure that Virginians with disabilities not only have the same rights as everyone else, but the same opportunities as well."

    "In short, this is the right thing to do and it's the right time to do it."

    Warner called his proposal "the first stage of a multi-year vision to fundamentally change how mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services in Virginia are delivered and managed."

    Warner's plan would result in 450 fewer institution beds, but would not force any facility to close. While his plan would not decrease funding for the state's overall mental health services, it also would not add any significant amount of money for the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse .

    Read Warner's statement at the governor's website.

    NCD Looks at 1990 Congress ADA Thinking

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2002 --Rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court have narrowed the definition of disability beyond what Congress intended when it passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

    That's the conclusion of the National Council on Disability's (NCD) fourth installment in its Americans with Disabilities Act Policy Brief Series: Righting the ADA.

    "Broad or Narrow Construction of the ADA" looked at the language and history of the ADA, along with the legal principles that were in place when Congress passed it. The purpose of the brief was "to determine what information can be found regarding how narrowly or broadly Congress intended the definition of disability in the ADA to be construed, and to ascertain whether the Supreme Court's narrow construction of the definition is consistent with or antagonistic to the statutory language, legislative history, and previously recognized legal principles".

    The paper concluded that the Supreme Court's recent rulings that narrowly define disability go against indications that the ADA was intended to provide protections based on much broader definitions. The paper also suggested that Congress was entitled to expect the definition of disability to be read much more liberally than the Court has done.

    "Broad or Narrow Construction of the ADA" is available at the NCD Website.

    Des Moines May Be Sued Over Access

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    DES MOINES, Dec. 18, 2002 --The Access Advisory Board of Des Moines says the city has a long way to go before it fully complies with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

    The board, which is appointed by the city, has threatened to report the city to federal officials. The city was to outline what modifications were needed to make city-owned buildings accessible to people with disabilities by the end of 1992. Those changes then were to be completed within five years.

    A plan was outlined a decade ago, according to Parks and Recreation Director Don Tripp.

    "It's been, to some extent, followed," said Tripp, who represents the city on the advisory board.

    But twelve years after the passage of the ADA, city buildings lack wheelchair ramps and entrances wide enough for wheelchairs; restrooms and drinking fountains are not accessible; and there still are not enough designated accessible parking spaces.

    "There are some tremendous deficits that still exist in city buildings," Robert Jeppesen, executive director of the Central Iowa Center for Independent Living, told the Associated Press.

    "Sometimes I won't even go into some of the buildings because I know there are accessibility problems," said Jeff Jasper, a 23-year-old Des Moines man that has cerebral palsy.

    The council was to vote Monday on whether to spend $75,000 for a new review of nearly 80 buildings.

    Des Moines doesn't face any fines for not meeting the ADA guidelines. Still, at a time when budgets are tight, officials say it may make more sense to address the problems now rather than face lawsuits from citizens with disabilities.

    NC Gov Issues Sterilization Apology

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    RALEIGH, NC, Dec. 16, 2002 --"On behalf of the state I deeply apologize to the victims and their families for this past injustice, and for the pain and suffering they had to endure over the years."

    That quote is from a statement North Carolina Governor Mike Easley sent to the Winston-Salem Journal Thursday.

    "This is a sad and regrettable chapter in the state's history, and it must be one that is never repeated again," Easley said.

    Easley's apology was intended for more than 7,600 North Carolinians who were surgically sterilized between 1929 and 1974 under the state's eugenics program.

    Easley is the third governor to give an official apology for a state's part in the eugenics movement. Virginia's Governor Mark Warner apologized in May on behalf of his state for the sterilization of 8,000 of its citizens. Earlier this month, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber apologized for his state's sterilizing of more than 2,600 people, most of whom were in state-operated institutions.

    Eugenics was based on the racist idea that "undesirable" people should not be allowed to have children. Thirty states had mandatory sterilization laws on their books for much of the twentieth century. Thirty states had mandatory eugenics laws by which more than 60,000 people, primarily people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses, are documented to have gone through the procedures. In some circumstances, girls and young women were forced to go through the operation simply because they were runaways or lived in poverty.

    The eugenics movement began to lose force after World War II when people learned that Adolph Hitler used the same tactics to sterilize hundreds of thousands of people during the Nazi era in Europe.

    North Carolina, however, dramatically expanded its program after 1945. The state also targeted black women in the general population and gave social workers the power to recommend sterilization.

    Under North Carolina's laws the third largest number of people in the nation were sterilized, just behind Virginia and California.

    Last week, the Winston-Salem Journal ran an excellent five-part series on North Carolina's eugenics system. Friday's edition included the story "Easley Apologizes To Sterilization Victims".

    Read Inclusion Daily Express articles and background on Virginia's eugenics program.

    Read about the Oregon apology.

    Wheelchair users to be cited for 'speeding'
    LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14, 2002 --Los Angeles's Valley College has issued a rule forbidding wheelchair users to go faster than 4 mph on campus. "Offenders face being cited or even expelled," reports an article in the Dec. 14 Los Angeles Times. A flyer passed out on campus by the disabled student services office says wheelchair users are putting others at risk.

    Valley VP of Administration Tom Jacobsmeyer told the Times he'd asked for the rule to be imposed after he saw "a very petite female student" step into the path of a wheelchair user "going very fast."

    "I'm just mystified as to why they picked this out among all the various hazards out there," Disability Rights Advocates attorney Larry Paradis told reporter Wendy Thermos. "People should not be talking on cell phones and reading while they're walking."

    "Do they also cite students who bump into each other in the hallways when they're not looking?" asked the World Institute on Disability's Deborah Kaplan.

    Hospital To Cut Treatments For Certain Patients

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 12, 2002 --In 1997, the American Medical Association told hospitals they should put together "futility" policies; to decide whether to stop trying to save a patient's life after the doctor has determined the patient cannot be cured. Since that time, most hospitals have developed such policies.

    The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania has announced that within the year it will put together a policy for a doctor to refuse certain treatments for a patient that has been in a "persistent vegetative state" for three to six months.

    In such situations, the doctor could refuse to admit the patient to an intensive care unit, or to provide aggressive treatments such as performing surgery or using a ventilator.

    "There are certain types of injuries people suffer where one should acknowledge the tragedy that has occurred, and realize that the chances of recovery are negligible, and really redirect care toward making sure the person is as comfortable as possible," Dr. Horace DeLisser, who co-chairs the hospital's ethics committee, told the Associated Press.

    But disability rights attorney Stephen Gold pointed out that hospitals might want to stop using expensive measures to keep alive a person that has a disability or that does not have medical insurance.

    "Not everyone agrees on what constitutes a life worth living," said Gold. "I had a client with cerebral palsy once who was asked to sign a (Do Not Resuscitate) order when they went in to be treated for appendicitis."

    Disability rights advocates have been pointing out for years that refusing such measures goes hand-in-hand with the medical profession's attempt to cut costs.

    "It's a fact: most people with disabilities are cheaper dead than alive," Mouth Magazine's Lucy Gwin wrote in 1997. Read her story on the Mouth magazine website.

    Read the Associated Press story.

    Heads Roll At Florida DCF

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    TALLAHASSEE, Dec. 9, 2002 --Governor Jeb Bush accepted resignations Tuesday of several high-ranking officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), including the agency's deputy secretary. The governor asked for the resignations as he set up new leadership for his second term, the Miami Herald reported.

    DCF has been under fire for several months following concerns of mismanagement and mishandling of suspected abuse and neglect cases. The most notable of those centered around the disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson. The child, a client of DCF, was missing for more than a year before the agency realized she was gone.

    The agency also failed to respond properly to a report called in to the state's abuse hot line about 9-year-old Michael Bernard. DCF had received a total of nine reports on the boy, who had cerebral palsy and seizures, before he died of neglect.

    More concerns about the agency were raised earlier this year when DCF ruled that 14-year-old client James Alford did not die of abuse or neglect. The agency had received 20 reports of abuse and neglect before the teen, who had mental retardation, died in November 2001. His mother was charged with criminal child neglect.

    By closing the investigation without finding that his death was caused by neglect, DCF reportedly ensured that the Statewide Child Death Review Team would not evaluate the agency's performance in the case. Story from The Miami Herald.

    Woman sues over nursing home placement

    MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 9, 2002 --An 86-year-old Forest Lake, MN woman is asking a federal judge to rule "that the U.S. Constitution guarantees all mentally competent people -- no matter any physical disability -- the right to decide for themselves where they will live." "The case could affect the way county human services officials -- and perhaps even families -- deal with people who resist pressure to move to a nursing home," writes the Minneapolis Star reporter Warren Wolfe.

    "I was so mad," said Josephine Bronczyk, a former junior high school teacher. "I didn't want to go to the nursing home. I told everybody, but they didn't listen. It was decided for me." Bronczyk's niece called Anoka County adult protective services urging that Bronczyk be put in a nursing home. Bronczyk is also asking the court to declare the state's guardian and conservator laws unconstitutional. She says they improperly allow officials to take authority over people with physical disabilities even if they are mentally competent. More from the Dec. 9 Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    Daughter Claims Evangelist's Crew Beat Her When She Sought Healing For Mother

    by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
    This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

    AKRON, OH, Dec. 5, 2002 --In August 2001, Gloria DeFrancesco took her mother to TV evangelist Ernest Angley for a healing prayer. Angley had arranged the personal healing for the 94-year-old woman who had disabilities, used a wheelchair, and was a "long-term financial contributor" to Angley's church.. Unfortunately, Angley had failed to inform his workers.

    When DeFrancesco tried to bring her mother up to the stage, six of Angley's workers and volunteer ushers blocked their way and assaulted DeFrancesco.

    In a lawsuit filed Tuesday at Summit County Common Pleas Court, DeFrancesco claimed she was grabbed, lifted, pushed, then beaten by the workers. DeFrancesco said she sustained injuries to her head, nose, body requiring hospitalization. She also claimed the assault left her with a detached retina that needed surgery to correct. She is seeking more than $25,000 in damages from Angley, his ministry and the employees.

    A representative of Angley's ministry said the daughter is trying to "get a lot of miles" out of "this poor old mother business". The spokesman also claimed that DeFrancesco started the fight when she used the point of an umbrella to strike a volunteer usher 20 times in the groin.

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