- People with disabilities of all types and degree can and do live successfully in communities of their own choice when individually appropriate services and supports are available to them.
- The World Health Organization reports that people with disabilities are the largest and fastest growing minority group, a powerful demographic with the ability to choose to live, work, and participate in the community.
- Virginia can better serve its citizens by investing in affordable, accessible housing, transportation, services, and supports that create liveable communities for all.
- Over the past 40 years, state policy has called for a shift from institutions toward community supports for persons with disabilities. However, the Commonwealth is currently 46th among states in its funding for community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD).
- Community-based services offer a better quality of life than institutional settings for people with disabilities while saving taxpayer dollars. The average annual cost for an individual residing in a state-operated training center is more than $194,000*. The average annual cost for an individual receiving services through waviers varies depending upon the waiver. As of FY 2009, the average per capita cost is $74,727 for individuals on the Intellectual Disabilities (ID) waiver. For individuals residing in a group home and receiving services through the Intellectual Disabilities (ID) waiver, the average per capita cost is approximately $95,000 (FY 2009). * The cost varies from year to year; in FY 2010, the cost was $195,574 (provided by DBHDS).
- People with disabilities and their families want community supports, not institutional placements. More than 5,300 persons are on the home and community-based ID Waiver wait list, and more than 990 people are on the DD Waiver wait list. Both numbers are growing. All of these individuals are legally entitled to an institutional level of care, yet they continue to wait for community-based support rather than enter an institution.
- If these home and community-based waiver “wait list” families opted for institutional care—to which their son/daughter is legally entitled—it would cost the state hundreds of millions more for supports and services.
- The Governor’s Workgroup on Housing Policy Advisory Committee and the Livable Communities Initiative are two examples of current movement towards community inclusion.
Our leaders need to follow the lead of states who have abandoned their bias toward state institutions for people with DD. The Commonwealth must develop and implement plans for transitioning its citizens with developmental disabilities from a life in a segregated setting to a life in their community. Closing training centers is the final chapter in Virginia’s stated commitment to community-based living.
Kaye, H.S., LaPlante, M., & Harrington, C. (2009). “Do Non-Institutional Long-Term Care Services Reduce Medicaid Spending?” Health Affairs, 28, #1 (Jan/Feb). Retrieved from: http://content.healthaffairs.org/index.dtl
Mollica, R.; Kasser, E.; Walker, L.; & Houser, A. (2009). “Taking the Long View: Investing in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Is Cost-Effective” INSIGHT on the Issues, 126 (March). Washington, D.C.: AARP Public Policy Institute. Retrieved from: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/i26_hcbs.pdf
Prouty, Robert W.; Alba, Kathryn; & Lakin, K. Charlie. (Eds.) (2008) Residential Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities: Status and Trends through 2007. Minneapolis, MN: Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota.
Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. (2010). State Plan Update, FY 2011. Richmond, Virginia. Retrieved from: http://www.vaboard.org/downloads/FFY2010StatePlanUPDATENarrativeFINAL.pdf
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. (2005, December 7). Comprehensive State Plan, 2006–2012. Richmond, Virginia: DBHDS Office of Planning and Development. Retrieved from: http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/documents/reports/OPD-StatePlan2006thru2012.pdf.
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. (2007, November 1). Comprehensive State Plan, 2008–2014. Richmond, Virginia: DBHDS Office of Planning and Development. Retrieved from:http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/documents/reports/opd-StatePlan2008thru2014.doc.
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Office of Developmental Services. Report to the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, May 2010.
Note: These data have not been updated; for more current information on prevalence of disabilities within Virginia and the United States, visit