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    In 1963, the Mental Retardation Facilities and Construction Act (Pub. L 88-164) was enacted to plan activities and construct facilities to provide services to persons with mental retardation.

   This legislation was subsequently amended by the Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-517) which constituted the first Congressional effort to address the needs of a group of persons with disabilities designated as developmental disabilities.

   The 1970 Amendments defined developmental disabilities to include individuals with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other neurological conditions closely related to mental retardation which originated prior to age 18 and constituted a substantial disability.

   State Planning Councils were created to advocate for, plan, monitor, and evaluate services for persons with developmental disabilities.

   Grants were authorized for constructing, administering, and operating University Affiliated Facilities.

   The 1975 Amendments (Pub. L. 94-103) deleted the construction authority.

   Studies were authorized to determine the feasibility of having University Affiliated Facilities establish Satellite Centers.

   The Protection and Advocacy System was established.

   A section on "Rights of the Developmentally Disabled" was now included in the law.

   The 1978 Amendments (Pub. L. 95-602) included a functional definition of developmental disabilities.

   The Developmental Disabilities Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-527) added a new emphasis regarding the purpose of the program, to assist States to assure that persons with developmental disabilities receive the care, treatment, and other services necessary to enable them to achieve their maximum potential through increased independence, productivity, and integration into the community.

   The 1987 Amendments (Pub. L. 100-146) established an annual report to Congress on the Developmental Disabilities program. ADD compiles this report using information received from the State Planning Councils, the Protection and Advocacy Systems, the University Affiliated Programs and grantees of the Projects of National Significance.

   Also included was a special 1990 Report to Congress on the scope and effectiveness of services provided to persons with developmental disabilities by State agencies and an analysis of consumer satisfaction. The State Planning Council prepared the State Reports to ADD and this information was used as the basis for the Report to Congress.

   The 1990 Amendments, (Pub. L. 101-496) added to the purpose of the Act the commitment toward enabling all people with developmental disabilities, including those with severe disabilities, to achieve interdependence and inclusion into society.

   The functional definition of developmental disability was amended to include infants and young children.

   Language was included to strengthen the independence of State Protection and Advocacy Systems.

   Core awards for University Affiliated program training projects was established.

   The Developmental Disabilities Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-230) included findings that emphasize respect for individual dignity, personal preference, and cultural differences in the provision of services, supports and other assistance, and recognize that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are the primary decision-makers regarding services, supports, and other assistance they receive.

   Provisions were included to ensure that the racial and ethnic individuals from diverse backgrounds are fully included in all levels and in all activities authorized under this act. This includes language regarding unserved and underserved populations and culturally competent services, supports and other assistance.

   Requires State Developmental Disabilities Council activities to promote systematic change, capacity building and advocacy.

   Clarifies the responsibilities of the Council and the State Designated Agency.

   Requires the Protection and Advocacy System to hire and maintain sufficient numbers and types of qualified staff to carry out the P&As function.

   Additional requirements are included to protect the confidentiality of client records.

   Requires the development of new program standards for University Affiliated Programs.

   The amendments also directed the Secretary to support grants to conduct an investigation on the expansion of part B programs (State Developmental Disabilities Councils) to individuals with severe disabilities other than developmental disabilities.

   Public Law 104-183, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 1996 extended for three years the authorization of appropriations for programs under the Act through Fiscal Years 1997, 1998 and 1999.

   Public Law106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act Amendments of 2000 extended the definition of a developmental disability to infants and young children from birth to age nine (9). 


Last Updated 2/11/2010