Research Links

Links and comments concerning persons with disabilities           (Last Update June 14,  2010)

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
CRS Reports

"The Congressional Research Service is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis." (CRS site)


I have several of these reports on this web site. Please note that these are in pdf format (you will need Adobe® Reader®). For each report, note the number of pages and file size. For broadband users (DSL/cable) they should download quickly. Dial-up users should note the file size and allow time for downloading.  - Dave Thompson

CRS Report R40123 January 5 2009
Education of Individuals with Disabilities: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

pdf here (17 pages)         This report courtesy of  Wikileaks


CRS Report RL32716  (January 5, 2005)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):  Analysis of Changes Made by P.L. 108-446
pdf here (47 pages, 200k file size)                    zip file download (178K)

CRS Report RS22138  (May 5, 2005)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):  Overview of  P.L. 108-446
pdf here (6 pages, 40k file size)                        zip file download (32K)

CRS Report 95-669 A  (May 19, 1995)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Congressional Intent
pdf here (11 pages, 493k file size)                     zip file download (476K)

 (Note: Many recent IDEA CRS Reports reference this one)


Investigative Journalism - Group Homes, State Facilities

When there was only wrong and no outrage

Line from the poem To Posterity by Bertolt Brecht as quoted by Hannah Arendt in her book, Men in Dark Times, Harcourt, Brace, First Ed. 1968, © Hannah Arendt 




Eric Weiss, Deadly Restraint, The Hartford Courant (1998 - Group Homes and State Facilities)
(These are links to pages with archived text of the Weiss series. Use Back key to return here)

Day One: A Nationwide Pattern of Death (This story ran in The Hartford Courant on October 11, 1998)

DAY TWO: Why They Die: Little Training, Few Standards, Poor Staffing Put Lives At Risk

Day Three: Patients Suffer In A System Without Oversight

Day Four: People Die And Nothing Is Done


Database of Deaths




Note: As of November 12, 2005, most of Boo series about Washington DC group homes is still available on the WP website. Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Public Service to Washington Post: Notably for the work of Katherine Boo that disclosed wretched neglect and abuse in the city’s group homes for the mentally retarded, which forced officials to acknowledge the conditions and begin reforms. (

The WP site may require registration to view the article, although access does not require paying an archive fee. My experience is that the Post registration is relatively painless, and not overly intrusive. Let me know if you have trouble viewing the online article. 

While the main text of the article is online, please note that many of story links to related content may not still work. 
 Dave Thompson  - November, 12, 2005

Katherine Boo, System Loses Lives And Trust, The Washington Post (December 5, 1999)

Regarding the group homes for disabled persons in Washington, D.C., the story reports that,

"In 86 cases from 1993 through September 1999 in which The Post could ascertain a cause of death, it found documentary evidence in 34 - more than one third - of delayed treatment, neglect, falsifications in reports or other lapses."

The article states that two days before the story was to run DC Department of Human Services (DHS) "officials turned over death certificates that they said represented 114 deaths, at least 45 more than they had previously disclosed."

And she reports that the city's DHS "hasn't investigated a single death of a retarded person since at least 1993. Only 14 received an autopsy - six of those autopsies were left unfinished."

In the December 5th piece, Boo details several of the deaths, for example::

Frederick Emory Brandenburg ... "was tranquilized in a staff mix-up, grew acutely ill and, surrounded by caretakers, slowly died without treatment."

James Scott ..."therapists physically 'restrained' him after he became 'agitated' ...Their attempts at restraint dislocated his spine and paralyzed him ...But after injuring him, PSI [group home operator] records show, staffers attributed his 'rag doll' stance and his guttural cries of 'Arm, arm!' to 'behavioral hysteria'."


Update - November 29, 2005 .... And the deaths continue ...

4 Deaths in D.C. Group Homes Raise Concerns About Neglect

By Karlyn Barker       Washington Post Staff Writer    Tuesday, November 29, 2005; Page A01
The District government is failing to provide adequate care for mentally and physically disabled residents in its group homes, according to a court monitor who found that a pattern of neglect led to four deaths in the past year.

One woman and three men "are dead because they did not receive timely and competent health care," court monitor Elizabeth Jones said in a newly released report....















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Neglect for Sale    by
November 30, 2002 The American Prospect magazine

The article, by Jennifer Washburn, leads with the details of the death of "Trenia" in a Texas group home in April 1998. The story relates that a state investigation found that Trenia "who had trouble lifting herself on her own" was left to wallow in a mixture of "cleaning agents and chemical bleach" poured on the floor where she lay "for more than two hours."

And, we are told:

"For the next three days, the staff made no effort to wash Trenia even as she complained that burns from the chemicals were causing her clothes to stick to her skin." When the group home finally took Trenia to an emergency room (three days after the exposure) "one witness said it 'looked like she had been napalmed'".

We learn that the group home, Appleridge (Houston, Texas) where Trenia lived, before her death, "is part of a national for-profit chain with a history of problems."

This national chain, ResCare, "earned more than $485 million in the fist nine months of 1999" the article tells us.

This article is a chilling piece of investigative reporting. And the parallels between the abuses, deaths, and greed detailed by the authors, Press and Washburn, are more than just an echo of Katherine Boo's Pulitzer award winning series in The Washington Post; this article is a sonic boom of condemnation.


Public protection, private abuse: Mentally disabled preyed upon in state care


...$42 million annual Community Protection Program -- the closest thing Washington [state] has to a prison without walls...The publicly funded program pays for-profit companies an average of $93,000 a year per client to guard developmentally disabled people who are deemed to be dangerous ...

NOTE: I don't know how long the Post-Intelligencer will keep the links up for free access. Let me know if you experience problems. Thanks, Dave Thompson

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 
                    Public protection, private abuse (Lead piece)

                    Two fractured ribs ... and a broken wrist for Jessica
                    Mentally disabled client sexually exploited
                    Molested and trapped in the system

Thursday, November 17, 2005
                    Lax oversight in state program  (Thursday lead piece)

                    Man with child's mind housed with offender
                    Transcript of online chat with Ruth Teichroeb

Friday, November 18, 2005
                    State program sacrifices clients' safety, critics say

                Childlike, abused Julie sent off to jail
                    Co-workers see a young man 'waste away'
                    Man seen as threat quits the program

Thursday, November 24, 2005
                     Protection program to get federal scrutiny

Sunday, November 27, 2005
                     Social Services: Beyond intent by SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

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