The Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement on Thursday in a three-year case finding Virginia needlessly housing some individuals with disabilities in institutions.
Under the terms of the 10-year, $2 billion agreement, Virginia will close four of its five homes for the developmentally and intellectually disabled and instead provide services in local communities.
The agreement would close the in Fairfax by 2015. About 200 residents live at NVTC.
Southeastern Virginia Training Center in Chesapeake, a 75-bed center, would remain open.
"People with disabilities should be given the same opportunities to participate in community life as those without disabilities,” Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ civil rights division, said in a statement. “This agreement will enable people in Virginia who have developmental disabilities to live successfully in their homes and communities.’’
The investigation found that Virginia violated federal law by housing many disabled citizens in institutions. The settlement was filed with the U.S. District Court in Richmond after nearly a year of negotiations with the Justice Department.
The agreement is meant to provide better, more localized care for 5,000 Virginians with intellectual and development disabilities. It is estimated that more than 1,000 currently reside in five facilities in Virginia. The agreement mandates that Virginia provide nearly 4,200 waivers to pay for localized care, crisis management services, housing assistance and greater employment opportunities for those receiving treatment.
Of the $2 billion it will take to implement the settlement agreement, $935 million would come from the federal government. Officials estimate the money saved by closing the facilities will bring the state's total cost down to about $340 million over 10 years.
Sharon Bulova, chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and John Cook, Braddock District Supervisor, released a joint statement saying the county has been preparing for this settlement for some time, and is already looking into how it will affect local families.
"Today's settlement does not come as a surprise," they said in the statement. "We have already had some very preliminary discussions at the county level regarding the opportunities we may have for serving this population and for the future use of the NVTC grounds.
"We are committed to working with our partners in the Commonwealth, the Community Services Board, and others to ensure that residents of NVTC and their families who depend on the services it provides will be treated fairly, respectfully and with sensitivity," they said.
"We support community-based care and hope the decision will be an opportunity to provide our residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities the care they need throughout Fairfax County. It is critical in this regard that sufficient funding is provided in order to make the transition successful. "
Read additional details on the decision at NBCWashington.