42 U.S.C. § 15001 - Findings, purposes, and policy

Cite as42 U.S.C. § 15001

(a) Findings

Congress finds that-

(1) disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently, to exert control and choice over their own lives, and to fully participate in and contribute to their communities through full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of United States society;

(2) in 1999, there were between 3,200,000 and 4,500,000 individuals with developmental disabilities in the United States, and recent studies indicate that individuals with developmental disabilities comprise between 1.2 and 1.65 percent of the United States population;

(3) individuals whose disabilities occur during their developmental period frequently have severe disabilities that are likely to continue indefinitely;

(4) individuals with developmental disabilities often encounter discrimination in the provision of critical services, such as services in the areas of emphasis (as defined in section 15002 of this title);

(5) individuals with developmental disabilities are at greater risk than the general population of abuse, neglect, financial and sexual exploitation, and the violation of their legal and human rights;

(6) a substantial portion of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families do not have access to appropriate support and services, including access to assistive technology, from generic and specialized service systems, and remain unserved or underserved;

(7) individuals with developmental disabilities often require lifelong community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance, that are most effective when provided in a coordinated manner;

(8) there is a need to ensure that services, supports, and other assistance are provided in a culturally competent manner, that ensures that individuals from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds are fully included in all activities provided under this subchapter;

(9) family members, friends, and members of the community can play an important role in enhancing the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities, especially when the family members, friends, and community members are provided with the necessary community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance;

(10) current research indicates that 88 percent of individuals with developmental disabilities live with their families or in their own households;

(11) many service delivery systems and communities are not prepared to meet the impending needs of the 479,862 adults with developmental disabilities who are living at home with parents who are 60 years old or older and who serve as the primary caregivers of the adults;

(12) in almost every State, individuals with developmental disabilities are waiting for appropriate services in their communities, in the areas of emphasis;

(13) the public needs to be made more aware of the capabilities and competencies of individuals with developmental disabilities, particularly in cases in which the individuals are provided with necessary services, supports, and other assistance;

(14) as increasing numbers of individuals with developmental disabilities are living, learning, working, and participating in all aspects of community life, there is an increasing need for a well trained workforce that is able to provide the services, supports, and other forms of direct assistance required to enable the individuals to carry out those activities;

(15) there needs to be greater effort to recruit individuals from minority backgrounds into professions serving individuals with developmental disabilities and their families;

(16) the goals of the Nation properly include a goal of providing individuals with developmental disabilities with the information, skills, opportunities, and support to-

(A) make informed choices and decisions about their lives;

(B) live in homes and communities in which such individuals can exercise their full rights and responsibilities as citizens;

(C) pursue meaningful and productive lives;

(D) contribute to their families, communities, and States, and the Nation;

(E) have interdependent friendships and relationships with other persons;

(F) live free of abuse, neglect, financial and sexual exploitation, and violations of their legal and human rights; and

(G) achieve full integration and inclusion in society, in an individualized manner, consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of each individual; and

(17) as the Nation, States, and communities maintain and expand community living options for individuals with developmental disabilities, there is a need to evaluate the access to those options by individuals with developmental disabilities and the effects of those options on individuals with developmental disabilities.

(b) Purpose

The purpose of this subchapter is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life, through culturally competent programs authorized under this subchapter, including specifically-

(1) State Councils on Developmental Disabilities in each State to engage in advocacy, capacity building, and systemic change activities that-

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