Document Type





Disability, community inclusion, France and United States, Human rights law, social work




Social Work


Adults with disabilities have often been segregated and socially isolated in institutions, unable to choose their living circumstances. Disability rights laws enacted in France (2005) and the U.S. (1990) identify self-determination and community living as rights. However, with the same goal, the implementation structure of the laws is different. This poster summarizes our study that (1) assesses facilitators and barriers to inclusion in community living by examining the laws and their implementation in France and the U.S. and (2) examines how the aims for community living have affected the roles of social workers in each country. The analysis uses published reports from the U.S. and France, and key informant interviews in both countries. We find that for France, the most important element is assuring the ability to choose living circumstance, not the type or location of residence. The U.S. is focused on the level of community inclusion, with efforts to avoid the use of congregate settings. To realize the right to community living, the French disability rights law includes funds to individuals for accommodations, home modifications, and personal assistance; social workers play key roles in assessment and benefit determination. In the U.S. funds for inclusion are not coupled with the rights law, but there is an emphasis on enforcement and advocacy. U.S. social workers may assist person-centered planning or provide services through other programs. In each country, there are challenges to making inclusive community living a reality, and to the roles of social workers in support of this goal.

Additional Information

This poster was presented at the European Social Work Research Association meeting, Lisbon, Portugal, March, 2016. The first author gratefully acknowledges the support of a Fulbright/Alsace Regional award. The work is solely that of the authors and does not represent official views of the governments of France or the U.S.

This poster also is in French, posted separately at this site.



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