Sunday, November 8, 2015

How Minnesota fails the disabled

Today the Star Tribune launches a five-part series called "Failing the Disabled: How Minnesota Isolates and Marginalizes Thousands of Adults with Disabilities."  The first installment, by Chris Serres and Glen Howatt, is excellent. Here is a brief excerpt: 

Minnesota pours $220 million annually into the sheltered workshop industry, consigning more than 12,000 adults to isolating and often mind-numbing work. It also relies more than any other state on group homes to house the disabled — often in remote locations where residents are far from their loved ones and vulnerable to abuse and neglect. And when Minnesotans with disabilities seek state assistance to lead more independent lives, many languish for months — even years — on a waiting list that is now one of the longest in the nation.

“We have entire communities of people with disabilities in this state who have zero choice,” said Derek Nord, a University of Minnesota scholar who specializes in disability policy. “They live in closed systems with no obvious way out.”

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