Obtaining Civil Rights Protections

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 addressed crucial civil rights protection for persons with developmental disabilities. The Act stated that “no otherwise qualified disabled individual in the United States… shall, solely by reason of a disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Protections against discrimination in employment, education, building accessibility, health, welfare, and social services gave individuals the right to seek compensatory and punitive damages in court if they could prove that a federal employer intentionally discriminated against them.

As more states made progress toward community-centered care, Ohio’s legislature established the Purchase of Service program. A replacement to the previous Family Care program, it funded the placement of institution residents into foster homes and other community-based residential services.