The Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court welcomed Rhode Island’s action plan to turn around the lives of adults with developmental disabilities, saying in a hearing Oct. 20 that the state has taken “historic and comprehensive” measures to set it on a path to comply with a 2014 civil rights consent decree.

Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. approved the plan, which commits at $50 million in the next few years to stabilize and expand a skilled workforce and promises a structural overhaul of the way services are delivered and providers are paid, according to summaries provided by a lawyer for the state and an independent court monitor.

“This a major step in improving the lives” of adults with developmental disabilities, McConnell said in the hearing, which was streamed remotely via the Internet.

McConnell said that in his 30 years as a lawyer and ten years on the bench, he’s “never seen the state move as quickly, effectively and positively.”

“Make no mistake about it. Moving that mountain was a mammoth undertaking,” McConnell said.

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