A federal judge Friday said he would approve a $2 billion settlement between the Commonwealth and U.S. Justice Department designed to expand community-based services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
But before Judge John A. Gibney enters the agreement into the court record, he wants a provision added that would give residents of state institutions the option to remain in a state-run facility.
Gibney’s closing statement at a hearing Friday came after nearly five hours of testimony from experts and from relatives of people with disabilities living successfully in the community, as well as relatives of people who’ve resided much of their lives in large, state institutions or training centers.
The settlement calls for the closure of four of Virginia’s five training centers over 10 years — a plan that a group of families and guardians of institution residents oppose. Their attorney, Tom York, who has fought similar Justice Department complaints on behalf of institution families in other states, filed a court challenge to the settlement on their behalf earlier this year.