About the Olmstead Sub-Committee

This group is working on ideas so people with developmental disabilities are included more in their communities. This includes where they live, go to school, work and play.


Olmstead is about a decision the Supreme Court made.  This is called the Olmstead Decision.

The Court decided that:

  • People with disabilities have a right to live in their community
  • People with disabilities have a right to get services in their community.
  • People with disabilities have a right to live outside of institutions.
    • The American with Disabilities Act gives people with disabilities this right.


"Olmstead” is the last name of a person. That person was part of an important court case called Olmstead versus L.C., which was decided in 1999.

Two women from Georgia who have disabilities (Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson) wanted to live in their community, not in an institution. But Tommy Olmstead, who worked for the state government, would not let them live where they wanted. The Supreme Court said the women should not have to live in an institution.

The Supreme Court said states can’t keep people with disabilities from living, working, or interacting with people who don’t have disabilities. The court said people with disabilities have the right to make their own decisions about their lives. The United States Constitution and a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act give people with disabilities these rights.


HCBS is a rule the government made that says:

People with disabilities have rights when they get disability services in their communities.

Tells providers what they have to do to respect the rights of people with disabilities.

To learn more about the HCBS rule, see this information created by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network:

Your Right to a Community Life: A Guide to HCBS Advocacy

HCBS Settings Rule Resources - Autistic Self-Advocacy Network


MODDC's Olmstead Sub-Committee held a training titled "Olmstead & Home and Community Based Services (HCBS): Identifying Effective Advocacy" in June 2023. Check out the training to learn more.

Presenters of the training included: Senior Attorney Elizabeth Edwards of the National Health Law Program and Director of Policy Erin Prangley of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD).