DOJ: Maine unnecessarily segregates children with mental health, developmental disabilities

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WMTW) - The Justice Department found the state of Maine in violation of the Americans Disabilities Act.

The DOJ announced Maine unnecessarily segregates children with mental health or developmental disabilities.

The Long Creek Detention Center is one of the facilities the DOJ says the state used to institutionalize children with disabilities in violation of the ADA.

Officials laid out the findings in a letter to Gov. Mills released earlier today.

The letter reads: “Maine unnecessarily segregates children with mental health and/or developmental disabilities, in psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, and a state-operated juvenile detention facility.

If the state declines to enter into voluntary negotiations, or if our negotiations are unsuccessful, the United States may take appropriate action, including initiating a lawsuit, to obtain redress for the State’s ADA violations.”

The letter went on to say those with disabilities in Maine are unable to live at home with their families due to a lack of community-based health services. It also found barriers to accessing behavioral services in the community.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services released a statement in response to the letter, saying the pandemic set them back in their progress to help children with disabilities, and it shares the sense of urgency of the Department of Justice.

This story is developing.

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