DOJ to investigate whether Missouri ‘unnecessarily institutionalizes’ those with serious mental illnesses

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Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 1:44 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The United States Department Justice has opened an investigation into whether Missouri “unnecessarily institutionalizes adults with serious mental illness in skilled nursing facilities.”

The investigation is going to take place under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the DOJ announced Wednesday. The DOJ said they have already let state officials know about the investigation.

The DOJ is going to investigate whether individuals living with mental illness could be served in the community instead, via services like supported housing, assertive community treatment, crisis services and peer support services.

They are also going to investigate whether Missouri’s use of guardianship for those with serious mental illness contributes to unnecessary placements in nursing facilities. Guardianship is a process where a court appoints someone to make certain decisions for someone else, which often includes decisions about where that person resides.

“People with disabilities have too often been unlawfully isolated in institutions and stripped of their autonomy,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to defend the rights of individuals with mental health disabilities to access the community-based services they need and to participate fully in community life.”

Because the investigation is just getting going, no conclusions have been reached regarding the subject matter under investigation.

If you have relevant information, you are asked to send an email to You can also reach out to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division via the Civil Rights Portal at

The DOJ added that “additional information about the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead enforcement is available on its website at” Olmstead requires that states 1) eliminate unnecessary segregation of those with disabilities and 2) ensure that those with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.