CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA), a critical civil rights law that aims to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia is proud to play a critical role in the Justice Department’s enforcement efforts under the ADA, which was signed into law on July 26, 1990, and is the nation’s preeminent civil rights law for providing access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities.
“The ADA is a critical law that has helped ensure equal and fair treatment and opportunities for people with disabilities,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “I am proud to have played a role in forging a landmark settlement with West Virginia to bring the state into compliance in its care for children with disabilities. My office will continue to fight for and protect the citizens of the Southern District of West Virginia.”
In recent years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has investigated a number of ADA cases. This includes an investigation into West Virginia’s children’s mental health system in which a landmark settlement was reached. The investigation concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe the state had violated the ADA by unnecessarily institutionalizing children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders in residential treatment facilities instead of providing them in-home and community-based mental health services. An agreement was reached with the State of West Virginia in May 2019, through which the state agreed to expand and improve in-home and community-based mental health services throughout the state to better meet children’s needs. The services include mobile crisis services, case management, therapeutic foster care, in-home therapy, and assertive community treatment. The state also agreed to develop a plan to eliminate the unnecessary use of residential mental health treatment facilities for children whom the state could serve in the community.
The promise of the ADA is its wide-ranging efforts to eliminate disability discrimination across the range of services, programs, and activities that most Americans take for granted, but were largely inaccessible to individuals with disabilities prior to the law’s enactment. Whether in employment, areas of civic life, or in the day-to-day activities and access to goods and services that we all enjoy – the ADA ensures that individuals with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities as all Americans to participate in everything this nation has to offer.
Over the past 30 years, the United States has undertaken the challenge of changing perceptions about disability, tearing down barriers to equality, and altering the systems that have historically excluded people with disabilities. Today, the Justice Department commemorates the many ways that the ADA has transformed society—by replacing exclusion with access, segregation with integration, and limitations with self-determination.
For more information about the 30th Anniversary of the ADA, please visit www.ada.gov. To file a complaint with the Department, please visit the Civil Rights Division’s portal at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/. For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.