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Historic Department of Justice’s Settlement with Oregon Phases Out Sheltered Workshops

September 30, 2015

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a proposed settlement agreement earlier this month with Oregon that provides adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who currently work in sheltered workshops in the state, with the support to achieve competitive integrated employment in their communities during the next seven years. Oregon also will no longer fund sheltered workshop placements for transition-age youth and working-age adults who are newly eligible for state-funded employment assistance. Instead, the state will develop individual plans and support systems for those interested in exploring competitive integrated employment options. According to DOJ, about 3,900 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities have worked in sheltered workshops in Oregon since 2013, with more than half earning less than three dollars per hour. The settlement calls for a cross-systems approach to implementing the settlement, with a strong reliance on the state’s existing HCBS waiver system. DOJ found that people with disabilities in Oregon were unnecessarily segregated into sheltered workshop settings to the exclusion of community-based alternatives, and that this unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

LEAD Center will host a webinar on Thursday, October 22nd from 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST on this historic DOJ settlement. Please check the LEAD Center website for registration information or join the mailing list to receive additional details on the webinar.