Full Participation in Communities

Full Participation In CommunitiesIn 2001, Ohio took the initial steps to improve availability and quality of home and community-based services for people with developmental disabilities. Working in collaboration with county boards, private providers, consumers, and advocates, the state redesigned the developmental disabilities system to allow more people to live and work in the community instead of institutions.

In February 2001, President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative, a comprehensive program designed to ensure full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society. The initiative assisted with increasing access to the power of assistive technologies and removing financial barriers to the acquisition of these technologies; expanding educational opportunities; helping to integrate Americans with disabilities into the workforce; and enabling full, self-empowered participation in communities. The administration also pledged its commitment to the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Additionally, that same year, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was designed to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education, and required states to develop accountability systems. Congress appropriated funding for the creation of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in the Department of Labor. This office funded the Customized Employment Initiative to improve workforce development system services for people with disabilities.

Photo Source: Ross County Board of DD