Opinion: Mass. needs to fully implement the Real Lives law for adults with developmental disabilities

June 17th, 2024
The Boston Globe
Life could be so vibrant and have tremendous positive impact for our son and others like him if self-direction as mandated in the Real Lives law were truly embraced. One of the key problems that families like ours face is the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) rigid approach to allowing people to exercise what is called self-direction. That is, their right to spend the financial support they receive from DDS on the programs and services they find best. The Massachusetts Real Lives law was passed in 2014 to address this issue. Today, the Commonwealth is still struggling to educate its staff and to develop a robust, consistent pathway for families to make use of the law. The state fails to do what the law calls for, and in the meantime, people suffer.
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