July 18, 2023

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled on Friday that the State of Florida violates the rights of children with complex medical needs by keeping some children unnecessarily institutionalized in nursing facilities, while placing other children at serious risk of unnecessary institutionalization.

Following a two-week bench trial in May, the court found that the children in nursing facilities are capable of living in the community. Based on the testimony of experts and family members during the trial, the court also found that parents and guardians of institutionalized children overwhelmingly want their children to live at home, but that they have not been given meaningful options other than institutional placement. The court’s decision, coming after nearly a decade of litigation, marks a major turning point in the treatment of children with disabilities in Florida and vindicates their right to community integration.

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Article Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

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