Alaska's 1988 De-institutionalization Plan
In January 1988, over 12 years ago, a "Residential Services Task Force" in Alaska drafted a plan much like the Olmstead plans states are required to draft now. It was "A report to the Alaska Governor's Council for the Handicapped and Gifted on the feasibility of deinstitutionalization of people with developmental disabilities and other substantial handicaps, and detailing the service needs and costs of making community residential and daytime services available to all individuals with severe disabilities in Alaska."
The report was approved by the Governor's Council for the Handicapped and Gifted February 17, 1988 and forwarded to the executive branch through the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services with the following motion : "That the Governor's Council for the Handicapped and Gifted go on record in support of the ultimate goal of deinstitutionalization of the developmentally disabled in Alaska. . . . "
The Alaksa Commissioner of the Dept. of Health and Social Services, Myra M. Munson, wrote in her Aug. 25, 1988 response to the plan that ""This is the only document in existence which has projected service needs based on actual persons on the waiting list and in institutions. The Plan is well organized, broken down in sufficient detail so as to be implemental, and puts into practice the philosophy presented in the Report."
Read the Report's Chapter 5, the Task Force Recommendations. This is the "meat" of the report. This is a PDF file. In order to download PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer. If you don't have this software, you can get a free copy of of Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe Systems, Inc. at http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html.
"I think we have made some great strides here" in Alaska, said Duane French, Director of the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, who sent Freedom Clearinghouse this document.
"The number of people left in the 'psychiatric institution' will drop to 57 this year and the plan is to reduce it further.
"When the SILC Director reported that Personal Assistants will be making up to $18 per hour after July 1, I realized years of effort was finally paying off. They are starting to understand what's possible if folks are paid in the community as well as they are in 'facilities.' "