The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division announced today that it has opened an investigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into whether the State of South Carolina subjects adults with mental illness to unnecessary institutionalization and risk of institutionalization, in adult care homes. The investigation will examine whether South Carolina needlessly segregates individuals with mental illness in adult care homes, known in the State as community residential care facilities, by failing to provide integrated community-based mental health services.
Prior to the announcement, the department informed South Carolina’s Governor’s Office and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office of the initiation of the investigation.
“People with disabilities have too often been unlawfully isolated in institutions, including state psychiatric hospitals and adult care homes,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to defend the rights of individuals with mental illness to access the community-based services they need and to participate fully in community living.”
The department has not reached any conclusions regarding the subject matter under investigation. Individuals with relevant information are encouraged to contact the department via email at Community.SouthCarolina@usdoj.gov or through the Civil Rights Division’s Civil Rights Portal, available at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead enforcement is available on its website at https://www.ada.gov/olmstead/.