Human Development Centers - Part 3

The Justice Department of the United States had filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas last year. In that lawsuit, the USJD had alleged that the Human Development Centers in Arkansas violated the rights of individuals with disabilities because the residents of these HDC's were essentially kept out of the community.

This last month, the lawsuit was dismissed, without prejudice, essentially because the Justice Department had violated its own rules by filing the lawsuit before the state had a chance to rectify the problems cited. This does not mean that it is over, since the merits of the case will be reviewed soon, and the suit may be refiled.

Today in our state paper, it was reported that one of the oldest and largest HDC's was going to move their children to private facilities throughout the state. This HDC serves 460+ adults, and 50 children under the age of 18. The thinking of the state is that these children are deprived of an education by being housed in the HDC, and may be more suitably served in these smaller institutions.

My husband remembers going on a field trip in high school to this particular HDC as part of his sex education class. Although it was 40 years ago, he still shudders when he tells me "they had us tour the facility, but they told us over and over 'This is what happens when you fornicate'".

We have come a long way from those days. We still have a long way to go.

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