A Wake County judge ruled last month that the state discriminates against those with intellectual and development disabilities by forcing the acceptance of institutionalization instead of community-based services and support.
Judge Allen Baddour ruled in the case of Samantha R. et al. v. North Carolina, et al. that the state's current policies violate part of the North Carolina Persons with Disabilities Act.
Disability Rights NC originally filed the suit in 2017.
"We are pleased that the judge ruled in favor of people with disabilities having the choice to live in the community,” Disability Rights NC CEO Virginia Knowlton Marcus told Carolina Public Press. “This order is the first step, and we will be actively working toward a remedy that helps more people with I/DD get the support they need in the home they choose. We hope that the state and DHHS will commit to do the same.”
The next steps the court will take are to disclose how the decision is to be enforced and the plan the Department of Health and Human Services as well as other state agencies may need to take in order to comply.
The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement to Carolina Public Press that it has recognized that "much work remains" and it started to develop a plan last year to increase the community levels of care and change how care is delivered.