HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A lawsuit has been filed against Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services over changes to a program designed to help people with intellectual disabilities.
The Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association filed the suit in Commonwealth Court against Human Services and its Office of Developmental Programs, saying the changes to the Community Participation Supports program will leave behind those who need the program most.
RCPA joined people with disabilities and their families for a rally at the Capitol on Thursday to support the lawsuit.
The new policies require that people in the program spend a quarter of their time out in the community, such as a mall or coffee shop. RCPA says that is unrealistic for people with severe disabilities and would force disabled adults with jobs to give up that employment in order to meet the threshold.
The new requirements also include having no more than one staff member for every three participants when out in the community, which RCPA says becomes virtually impossible due to staff shortages.
The program is designed to integrate people with intellectual disabilities in their communities.
“We support that. Who wouldn’t support that? Though well-intentioned, however, we know the current CPS requirements are proving to be detrimental to the providers and those they serve,” RCPA president and CEO Richard Edley said.
In a statement, Human Services said “these services have been changing for many years as both DHS and the federal government seek ways to be more inclusive of individuals with disabilities receiving services in community settings. We continue to work with providers to transform business models to be more inclusive and ensure access to quality services that meet the needs of participants.”