Washington Court of Appeals Rejects Challenge to Deinstitutionalization
In Parsons v. Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, issued yesterday, the Washington Court of Appeals rejected a state-law challenge to the downsizing of a state residential institution for individuals with developmental disabilities. The case was brought by the guardians of three residents of the institution. The residents were to be transferred to community settings as part of the downsizing, and the guardians objected. They argued that the Department of Social and Health Services was moving people out of the institution in preparation to close the institution, and that no state statute permitted the department to close the institution. The court of appeals held, however, that the department had discretion to downsize the institution even if it couldn't close it. The court did not address any ADA issues, but it did allow the Washington P&A to file an amicus brief that made the legal and policy case for deinstitutionalization.