08 Sep Justice Department Blasts Florida for Putting Disabled Children in Nursing Homes
A civil rights investigation by the Justice Department charges that the State of Florida has been unnecessarily institutionalizing hundreds of children by placing children with disabilities in nursing facilities designed for elderly patients in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Hundreds of children are currently segregated in nursing facilities throughout Florida. They are growing up apart from their families in hospital-like settings, among elderly nursing facility residents and other individuals with disabilities,” said a Sept. 4, 2012 letter from Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi.
“They live segregated lives — having few opportunities to interact with children and young adults without disabilities or to experience many of the social, educational and recreational activities that are critical to child development.” Perez continued.
“The state’s reliance on nursing facilities to serve these children violates their civil rights and denies them the full opportunity to develop bonds with family and friends.”
However, Florida Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek said the Department of Justice letter was wrong.
“DOJ failed to allow the agency to review or respond to the letter prior to release, which resulted in unfounded and inaccurate allegations,” Dudek said in a prepared statement.