Florida Disabled Kids Still Being Placed in Nursing Homes

The lawsuit against Florida health care agencies was dismissed on a technicality.

A federal judge recently dismissed a case filed under the ADA to stop disabled kids from being placed in nursing homes in Florida. This is a travesty of justice.

The ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Passed in 1990, this act forbids discrimination against people with special needs. It is modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and is aimed at ensuring that disabled individuals have the same opportunities as everyone else. This includes employment chances, buying products, and participating in State and local government programs.  

The Federal government, in this case, filed a lawsuit under the ADA to prevent disabled kids from being placed in nursing homes in Florida. The gist of the suit is that these children were being discriminated against by being placed in nursing homes for the elderly.

Placing disabled children in nursing homes forces them to live and grow up in a place designed to care for the elderly. [ More from the Miami Herald ]

As usual, it often comes down to money. 

Children are being placed into these homes because the State of Florida cut funding for private duty care. At one point, over $6 Million was cut from one such program. And the waiting lists to allow parents to care for disabled kids at home are staggering. Even Florida’s website for this service notes the program is “fully encumbered” and that there is a waiting list.

Children are being placed into these homes because the State cut funding for private duty careThe lawsuit against Florida health care agencies was dismissed on a technicality.

Specifically, the judge said that the federal government did not have the right to bring such an action. Instead, only private individuals could file such an lawsuit.

I believe this is a narrow interpretation of the ADA, and it prevents this statute from being truly enforced.

Unless the disabled person or their parents have money, they will not be able to hire a lawyer. The majority of these kids have no recourse, and will be left in nursing homes. It is sad, and I hope that Congress passes legislation to overcome this problem.