ST. PAUL, Minn. – The state of Minnesota took an important step forward this week after the Senate passed a bill to create an Olmstead Training Grants Program. This program will help persons with a disability gain access to services in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. It’s an important step forward in a years-long effort to build a state Olmstead Plan after a 2011 settlement agreement that required the state to develop a plan.
Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids), a long-time advocate for people with disabilities, chief authored the bill that was passed on Wednesday. Hoffman says his bill provides grant money for a Supportive Employment and Day Programs in relation to the Olmstead Plan requirements.
“The creation of this grant program has been a long time in coming. This is a big deal because it’s taken a long time to get to this point, and now that we have one program, the state can continue to build up the Olmstead Plan to cover every single area of service for persons with a disability. This is a very complicated process, but we’re moving in the right direction – and that’s a good thing for thousands of Minnesotans with a disability,” said Hoffman.
The Olmstead Plan gets its name from the 1999 US Supreme Court decision that the state of Georgia was unnecessarily institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities. In 2011, as part of a settlement agreement in the Jensen et al v. MN Department of Human Services, et al, Minnesota was required to develop a state Olmstead Plan which also covers employment outcomes.
“The most vulnerable in our families and communities deserve an improved measure of their quality of life, this is something I have spent my entire career working toward, and it’s something all Minnesotans can come together and support,” said Hoffman.
The bill also requires the Department of Employment and Economic Development, which administers the grant money, to submit an annual report to the legislature on the amount of funds awarded and the outcomes reported by grantees.
You can contact Senator Hoffman at Sen.John.Hoffman@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4154.