Oregon: Department of Justice’s Settlement Phases Out Sheltered Workshops and Provides Gains to Supported Employment in the State
On September 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a proposed settlement agreement with Oregon that provides 1,115 adults with disabilities who currently work in sheltered workshops with support to achieve competitive integrated employment in the community over the next seven years. Additionally, Oregon will no longer fund sheltered workshop placements for transitionage youth and working-age adults who are newly eligible for state-funded employment services. Also over the next seven years, Oregon will ensure that youth 14-24 years of age are provided with individually-planned employment services necessary for them to prepare for, choose, secure, and maintain competitive integrated employment. The settlement calls for a cross-systems approach to implementing the settlement agreement with fidelity, 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.