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Government & Politics

Disability Rights Advocates Sue Ohio, Accusing It of Needlessly Institutionalizing People

PHOTO OF TIM HARRINGTON
KAREN KASLER
/
OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

A disability rights group has filed suit in federal court against the state, claiming Ohio forces people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive services in institutional settings due to a lack of community options.  

Disability Rights Ohio suedon behalf of six people who the group says are, or are at risk of being, "needlessly institutionalized" because of state-imposed barriers to community-based services. And the suit seeks class-action status for about 27,800 other disabled Ohioans. 

Tim Harrington is the executive director of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo

“We do not walk lightly into lawsuits, but when we do, we’ve won every one,” Harrington said.

The group says it’s been negotiating with the state for two years. The state says it’s trying to improve the system with an additional $300 million in the current budget to expand community-based options.