Ohio Offers Flexible Solutions

Ohio Offers Flexible SolutionsIn 1993, Senate Bill 21, known as the omnibus bill because of it’s wide scope of enactments, was passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by the governor. Under S.B. 21, both the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and the county boards were afforded additional flexibility in finding solutions to meet the needs and circumstances of Ohioans with developmental disabilities. The bill also increased protections of the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Introduced in the legislation was the Community Trust Fund, a fund for one-time, temporary allocations for emergencies that could potentially result in court action. At the time, according to Senator Robert Cupp, “When individuals with disabilities encountered particularly difficult behavioral or living problems, they would often be remanded to residential centers by a court order.” The Community Trust Fund could provide emergency funds for temporary treatment or living arrangements, potentially preventing court intervention, until a more permanent solution was found.

Additionally, new provisions in the legislation prohibited individuals under 18 years of age from being placed in a state developmental center, reinforcing the widely held belief that institutional treatment is not the best option for children with disabilities. The law also required that superintendents of county boards report cases of abuse and neglect to law-enforcement officials and the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, or be fined $500.

Clip Source: Ross County Board of DD