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The New Freedom Initiative (NFI) was announced by President Bush on February 1, 2001, followed up by the Executive Order 13217 on June 18, 2001. The initiative is a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people of all ages with disabilities and long-term illnesses. It represents and important step in working to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, choose where to live and participate in community life.

This initiative supports states' efforts to meet the goals of the Olmstead v. L.C. Supreme Court decision issued in July 1999 that requires states to administer services, programs, and activities "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities." The Olmstead decision interpreted Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which gives civil rights and protections to individuals with disabilities and guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications. The complete Olmstead decision, and Executive Order 13217, can be accessed below under "Related Links Outside CMS."


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide some opportunities for funding to assist in implementing systemic changes to better serve individuals with disabilities in the setting of their choosing. More information on these grant programs can be found by using the links below under "Related Links Inside CMS."

  • Money Follows the Person Demonstration Grants:  These programs are part of a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to assist States, in collaboration with stakeholders, to make widespread changes to their long-term care support systems.  They will assist States in their efforts to reduce their reliance on institutional care while developing community-based long-term care opportunities, enabling the elderly and people with disabilities to fully participate in their communities.
  • Alternatives to PRTF Demonstration Grants:  These programs will help States provide community alternatives to psychiatric residential treatment facilities for children.  They will also assist States in their efforts to adopt strategic approaches for improving quality as they work to maintain and improve each child's functional level in the community.
  • Real Choice Systems Change: These grants support infrastructure changes that will result in effective and enduring improvements in community long-term support systems.
  • Direct Service Worker: These demonstration grants support strategies to help recruit, train, and retain direct service workers who provide personal assistance to people with disabilities who need help with activities of daily living.
  • Employment Initiatives: Authorized under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA), CMS provides funds to states through the Medicaid Infrastructure Grants (MIG) and Demonstration to Maintain Independence and Employment (DMIE) Program to create systemic change that supports employment for people with disabilities.

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Related Links Inside CMS

Money Follows the Person Demonstration Grants

Alternatives to PRTFs Demonstration Grants

Real Choice Systems Change Grants

Employment Initiatives (TWWIIA)

Promising Practices in Home and Community-Based Services

Quality in Home and Community-Based Services
Related Links Outside CMSExternal Linking Policy

Olmstead Supreme Court Decision

Executive Order 13217 - June 18, 2001

Disability Resources at www.disability.gov

Page Last Modified: 12/14/2005 12:00:00 AM
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