Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act 89 Stat. 486 (1975)

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This statute established a grant program under which participating states receive federal financial assistance to aid them in creating programs for the developmentally disabled, a term that refers mainly to the mentally retarded. To qualify for federal funds states must take affirmative action to hire qualified handicapped individuals, submit a plan to evaluate the services provided under the act, have a habitation plan for each person receiving services under a program funded under the act, and have in effect a system to protect and advocate the rights of persons with developmental disabilities. The act's "bill of rights" for the developmentally disabled includes the rights to appropriate treatment in a setting least restrictive of the patient's liberty, to a well-balanced diet, to sufficient medical and dental services, to be free of restraint as punishment, to be free of excessive use of chemical restraints, to be visited by relatives, and to a safe environment. In pennhurst state school and hospital v. halderman (1981) the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice william h. rehnquist and over three dissents, held that the "bill of rights" portion of the act does not confer on the developmentally disabled any substantive rights to appropriate treatment in the least restrictive setting. The act "does no more than express a congressional preference for certain kinds of treatment."

Theodore Eisenberg

(see also: Disabilities, Rights of Persons With.)


Eisenberg, Theodore 1981 Civil Rights Legislation. Pages 886–887. Charlottesville, Va.: Michie Co.

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Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act 89 Stat. 486 (1975)

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