Delaware Adapt and Arc Win Governor's Edict on Olmstead

by Lucy Gwin

photo of a big signing ceremony
Photo, swiped off Carper's website, shows him signing something else altogether.

It's two pages of whereases, two more of now therefores, and all Mouth has so far is a thrice-faxed version, but...

Delaware Governor Thomas Carper, former chair of the National Governors Association, issued Executive Order #79 on May 17, committing his state to full implementation of the 1999 Olmstead ruling.

Today fewer than 800 people in Delaware receive community-based services. Reversing the state's long-term care policy was the work of a classic double team. Daniese McMullin-Powell of Adapt Delaware banged on Carper's door until she got a meeting and then had to prod him into listening.
"I made him look at pictures of Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson," she says. "'These two women live in freedom with supports,' I told him. 'Why can't everyone?'"

Then her friend Rita Mariani, director of the Arc of Delaware, filed suit in federal court over Delaware's failure to provide services in the most integrated setting. "That got him going," Daniese says.

Carper's edict carries a timeline of May 1, 2001 for a state plan. (He leaves office in January, 2001.) Without further pressure from citizen activists, it could be 2003 before more residents of Delaware get the right to choose where they live.
Daniese says she will not let up. "Not for a minute. Soon as I get back from the Adapt action, I'm meeting with the HHS Office for Civil Rights, and some state legislators too."


 photo of Daniese with her dog at what looks like a beach. Daniese uses a wheelchair.
Daniese McMullin-Powell with service dog Inky

photo of the governor mounted on an enormous road-working machine
Governor Thomas Carper "riding the Rubbelizer" to rebuild a highway. We'll like it better on the day he rides the Rubbelizer over state hab centers, nursing homes, and loony bins. Ride 'em, cowboy!


Daniese McMullin-Powell is active with Adapt and is now also an advocate with Freedom Clearinghouse. Clearinghouse advocates in (nearly) every state push their states to implement the Supreme Court's historic Olmstead ruling.

• to learn more about that ruling, click here
• to see which advocates have joined Freedom Clearinghouse from your state, click here


This article is reprinted from Mouth #60, the Mouth Chronicles issue.

To order that issue, click here.

See EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS -- where some Mouth readers got their state Medicaid director fired and the governor begging for mercy. Click here.


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