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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Resolution on Protective Services

Submitted by: Thomas Earle; Misty Dion; Kristina Kapp; Thomas Olin

Adopted: July 23, 2023

Whereas, Collaboration between Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and protective services are essential to assuring that PWDs have choice and access to services in the least restrictive setting during and after protective services investigate;

Whereas, Guardianship and institutionalization does not guarantee protection from abuse, neglect or exploitation; and

Whereas, Protective services investigators (sometimes called caseworkers) are often the first responders to investigate abuse, neglect, and exploitation of PWDs; and

Whereas, The current structure of protective services, including the type of abuse it responds to, the population it protects, the people required to report, and the type and quality of the response varies from state to state; and

Whereas, This lack of consistency and best practices often ignores the community integration mandate of the ADA & Olmstead to provide needed long term care services and supports to the PWDs in the ‘most integrated setting’ appropriate to their individual needs, and often results in the unwarranted placement of PWDs in nursing facilities and other segregated institutional settings, against their free will and in violation of the Olmstead SCOTUS landmark decision; and

Whereas, An inadequate response by protective services can put the person in further danger, it can also result in re-victimization and trauma induced by the service system charged with protecting them; especially in cases where protective services lack objectivity, due to conflicts of interests that result from protective service entities acting as the guardian; and

Whereas, The lack of coordination of CIL and other community based services further isolate and prevent PWDs “the opportunity to participate in or benefit from, the aid or service” of known community resources;

Be it therefore resolved, That NCIL recognizes the need for a national model of protective services that will eliminate confusion, fear and mistrust; that will embrace a trauma informed response to abuse and other life situations to serve victims with disabilities with respect, compassion and the choice of dignity of risk; now therefore

Resolved, That NCIL will support the advocacy work of its CIL membership to collaborate with the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to eliminate conflicts and address concerns around protective services and will encourage its membership to work collaboratively with their local/state protective services.