Why are Children In Florida Nursing Homes?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012

This is the question that the Justice Department seeks to answer as it investigates the forced institutionalization of hundreds of children with disabilities into nursing homes designed for the elderly, in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Hundreds of children are currently segregated in nursing facilities throughout Florida. They are growing up apart from their families in hospital-like settings, among elderly nursing facility residents and other individuals with disabilities,” Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez in a letter to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi.

The Department of Justice has noted that Florida has refused federal grants which would place some of the children in community-based programs. On nursing home staff member commented that once they “get the children, very few of them go home.” One mother is seeking custody of her 5-year old paraplegic child placed in one nursing home, but has been denied due to a five-ten year waitlist on community and home-based services.