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Lawsuit Claims Florida Pays to ‘Warehouse’ Disabled Children Rather Than Send Them Home

March 15th, 2012   No Comments   Court Cases

Two cases filed in Fort Lauderdale courts this week have Florida child advocates, foster child rights attorneys and others who follow issues regarding disabled children closely interested.

In one case, a 16-year-old girl who cannot talk or walk and needs help breathing part of the day, lives “warehoused” by the state in a Plantation nursing and rehabilitation center, says her attorney, who filed the case in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. She’s one of 250 such disabled or severely sick children Florida pays to keep in nursing homes – when alternatives exist. Their families would prefer them to be at home or in the community.

The lawsuit claims Florida keeps these sick and disabled kids trapped in nursing homes and institutions by denying services, “even when doctors have cleared them to go home with their families,” the Sun-Sentinel reported of the suit.

In a separate suit, a second group of families claim the opposite – fearing 3,300 at-risk children living at home may be forced into institutions or nursing homes if Florida Medicaid denies services.

Lawyers claim the law is on the plaintiffs’ side. The Americans With Disabilities Act and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling require states provide services that keep such individuals in the least restrictive settings possible, the paper reported. Read the entire story here.

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