Autistic man should keep in Missouri welfare custody

KANSAS CITY, Mon. (AP) – A young man with severe autism must remain in the care of Missouri’s Children’s Fund, despite his approaching 21st birthday, a judge ruled on Friday.

Jackson County Judge Kea Bird-Riley also ordered that he should stay in his current position in a group home with the services he is now receiving, the Kansas City Star reported.

The young man, unidentified in court documents, will turn 21 on Sunday and will not be able to feed or take care of himself.

The Missouri American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking an injunction preventing the state from removing the young man from service. In that suit, the ACLU said the young man was in imminent danger and could die if he were released from custody and ended up on the street.

The lawsuit says he has lived in an Independence group home licensed by the Missouri Mental Health Department for four years. Lawyers say he’s fine there.

His mother lives in a Kansas City homeless shelter and cannot look after him. The mother, who lost custody of him following allegations of abuse or neglect, was present at the virtual hearing in front of the family court on Friday.

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