The Department of Justice announced today that it has concluded an investigation into whether the State of Nevada subjects children with behavioral health disabilities to unnecessary institutionalization in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Justice Department determined that Nevada violates the ADA by failing to provide adequate community-based services to children with behavioral health disabilities, relying instead on segregated, institutional settings like hospitals and residential treatment facilities. Hundreds of children are isolated in residential treatment facilities each year though they could remain with their families if provided necessary, community-based services. Over a quarter of these children stay over a year, and some of them are placed outside of Nevada, far from their homes. Nevada also fails to connect children who have been placed in institutions with services to allow them to successfully return to the community.
“Children with disabilities should receive the services they need to remain with their families and in their communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division looks forward to working with Nevada to bring the State into compliance with federal law and prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of children.”
The department’s investigation found Nevada lacks needed community-based services such as intensive in-home services, crisis services, intensive care coordination, respite, therapeutic foster care and other family-based supports. As a result, hundreds of Nevada children are segregated for months, often very far from home. Nevada officials have expressed a desire to work with the department to resolve the identified issues.
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.