Processing of applications to a fund designed to compensate victims of Virginia’s sterilization program are expected to begin this month, according to state representatives.
The Commonwealth’s Compensation for Victims of Eugenics Sterilization Program marked $400,000 for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who were forcibly sterilized at Virginia institutions, including Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office approved “emergency regulations” Nov. 20, responding to a General Assembly deadline for developing a plan to allocate the money budgeted for the fiscal year beginning July 1, according to Dee Keenan, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services assistant commissioner of quality management and development.
“Emergency regs are basically designed for us to get changes through quicker, particularly when we are out of compliance with something or the General Assembly has passed some kind of legislative thing that we need to get in compliance with,” Keenan said Monday.
The General Assembly gave the department 280 days — more than nine months — after the budget was enacted to develop regulations, giving the governor’s office until late December to approve the plan.
Keenan said the $400,000 budgeted this year is expected to be repeated in future budgets, so the department will review the emergency regulations through the normal process, expected to take 18 months and include a public comment period.
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services already has collected a stack of applications and is putting together a review board to evaluate and process each one, according to Maria Reppas, department spokeswoman. She said the group should start reviewing applications by Jan. 15.
The program offers a one-time payment of $25,000 to living victims of sterilization or the estates of those who died after Feb. 1, 2015. This year’s allocation of $400,000 would provide compensation for 16 victims. Mark Bold, a victim’s advocate based in Evington, has said he knows of almost 15 victims expected to apply.
The individual or an authorized representative may receive compensation if the individual is living as of Feb. 1, 2015 and sterilized while a patient at one of the state institutions, including Central Virginia Training Center (formerly known as the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded), between 1924 and 1981.