Tying the Olmstead Commission to the 'Mainstreet' initiative

Nov 10, 2017

North Dakota Human Services director Chris Jones.
Credit Dept of Human Services

The director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services  wants to take North Dakota to the next step – in its efforts to deal with the “Olmstead” decision.

That decision said states should strive to make sure people who are disabled are able to live in the least restrictive environment possible.

"If you compare North Dakota to other states, North Dakota is going a very good job overall," said Human Services director Chris Jones.

Jones sais he now wants to broaden the conversation.

"How do we include all of the components, to create the least restrictive environment, and create great communities for all to live, including those with disabilities?" Jones said.

Jones said efforts to deal with the Olmstead ruling have been historically handled by Human Services. But he wants to include other state departments, such as Commerce, Public Instruction, Health, Housing and Transportation in those discussions.

"For instance, when we look at things like transportation, are we meeting the needs of all North Dakotans?" Jones said. "Are we making sure individuals have the access so they can get where they need to go?"

Jones said Governor Burgum’s “Mainstreet Initiative” dovetails well with these efforts.