Feds: Florida dumping disabled kids in nursing homes
By KELLI KENNEDYMore than 3,300 children with disabilities are at risk of being pushed into adult nursing homes because the state is slashing nursing and other services that would otherwise keep them at home with their families, according to a lawsuit filed against state health officials.
The lawsuit mirrors a letter sent this week by federal officials to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi alleging the state is violating federal law by allowing more than 200 children with disabilities and even babies to be kept in nursing homes, often for years.
The suit and federal regulators say children languish in facilities, sharing common areas with elderly patients and having few interactions with others, rarely leaving the nursing homes or going outside. After visiting children in six nursing homes, investigators noted the children are not exposed to social, educational and recreational activities that are critical to child development. Educational opportunities are limited to as little as 45 minutes a day, according to a detailed letter sent Tuesday by U.S. Department of Justice officials.