Laws and Policies

supporting the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities & their families

Navigating the vast array of services and supports available to individuals with disabilities and their family members can be complicated. The different programs, services, and policies can make you feel like you are swimming in alphabet soup. 

We have mapped out select policies, regulations, and declarations pertaining to the rights of people with developmental disabilities. Click on a bullet below to read more or scroll down to view them all.

Federal Policies, Programs and Regulations

Below is a shortlist of the policies and regulations that govern education, employment, community living and participation for people with developmental disabilities.

  • Developmental Disabilities Act (DD Act)
  • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • Ley de Innovación y Oportunidad Laboral (WIOA)
  • Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE)
  • Employment First 
  • Reglas de Servicios Basados en el Hogar y la Comunidad (HCBS)
  • Money Follows the Person
    • Olmstead Supreme Court Decision of 1999 (Olmstead v LC )
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    • Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA)
    • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Developmental Disabilities Act of 2000 (aka the DD Act)

    The purpose of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act, PL 106-442) is to help individuals with developmental disabilities achieve independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community. The Act assures 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.

    DD Act programs in every state and territory empower individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to help shape policies that impact them. DD Act programs conduct important research and test innovative new service delivery models. They work to bring the latest knowledge and resources to those who can put it to the best use, including self-advocates, families, service providers, and policymakers. DD Act programs also investigate cases of abuse and serve as advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

    Learn more about the DD Act here: https://acl.gov/about-acl/authorizing-statutes/developmental-disabilities-assistance-and-bill-rights-act-2000 

    Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

    La Ley de éxito de cada estudiante (ESSA) se convirtió en ley el 10 de diciembre de 2015. Las siguientes son algunas de las disposiciones que ayudarán a garantizar el éxito de los estudiantes y las escuelas.

    • Upholds critical protections for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students, requiring all students in America be taught to high academic standards, preparing them to succeed in college and careers.
    • Asegura que se proporcione información vital a educadores, familias, estudiantes y comunidades a través de evaluaciones anuales en todo el estado.
    • Mantiene la expectativa de que habrá responsabilidad y acción para lograr un cambio positivo en nuestras escuelas con el rendimiento más bajo.

    Para más información ir a: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html

    Ley de Innovación y Oportunidad Laboral (WIOA)

    The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) helps job seekers and workers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and match employers with skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. WIOA also increases individuals with disabilities access to high-quality workforce services to prepare them for competitive integrated employment. It requires better employer engagement and promotes physical and programmatic accessibility to employment and training services for individuals with disabilities.

    Para más puntos destacados sobre reformas adicionales al sistema de fuerza laboral, vaya a: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/wioa

    Lograr una Ley de Experiencia de Vida Mejor (Ley ABLE)

    Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) – An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings account that qualified individuals with disabilities will be able to open as a result of the passage of the ABLE Act of 2014 and subsequent enactment of state ABLE laws. Earnings on ABLE accounts will not be taxed. Contributions to the account may be made by any person (the account beneficiary, family and friends) and may or may not be tax deductible depending on the specifics of the state ABLE law. For more information by State, go to: http://www.ablenrc.org/

    Reglas de Servicios Basados en el Hogar y la Comunidad (HCBS)

    Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) – The final Home and Community-Based Services regulations set forth new requirements for several Medicaid authorities under which states may provide home and community-based long-term services and supports. The home and community-based setting provisions in this final rule establish a more outcome-oriented definition of home and community-based settings, rather than one based solely on a setting’s location, geography, or physical characteristics. The regulations are intended to enhance the quality of HCBS and provide additional protections to individuals that receive services under these Medicaid authorities.

    Para más información ir a: http://www.medicaid.gov/HCBS

    Money Follows the Person (MFP)

    Money Follows the Person has a long history of supporting the rights of individuals with disabilities to live in the community. The program provides funding so that individuals who are living in nursing facilities and institutions wishing to transition to living in a home in the community can do so with proper supports.

    Para más información ir a: https://medicaid.publicrep.org/feature/money-follows-the-person/

    Olmstead Supreme Court Decision of 1999 (Olmstead v LC )

    The Olmstead Decision was a landmark Supreme Court Decision that happened in 1999. In this case, which was supported by the Americans with Disabilities Act, it was decided that individuals with disabilities receiving publicly-funded services and supports have the right to receive them in the least restrictive environment in their communities appropriate to their needs.

    Para más información ir a: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/medicaids-money-follows-the-person-program-state-progress-and-uncertainty-pending-federal-funding-reauthorization/

    https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/community-living-and-olmstead/index.html

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires schools to service the educational needs of eligible students with disabilities.

    • The primary goal of IDEA is to to protect the rights of children with disabilities. IDEA ensures students with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), just like all other children. Schools are required to provide special education in the least restrictive environment. That means schools must place students with disabilities in general education classroom whenever possible.
    • Darles a los padres una voz en la educación de sus hijos. Bajo IDEA, usted tiene una opinión sobre las decisiones educativas que la escuela toma sobre su hijo. En cada punto del proceso, la ley le otorga derechos y protecciones específicas. Estos se llaman garantías procesales.

    Aprende más en https://sites.ed.gov/idea/about-idea/ 

    Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA)

    La Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades (ADA) se convirtió en ley en 1990. La ADA es una ley de derechos civiles que prohíbe la discriminación contra personas con discapacidades en todas las áreas de la vida pública, incluidos trabajos, escuelas, transporte y todos los lugares públicos y privados que están abiertos. al público en general. El propósito de la ley es asegurar que las personas con discapacidades tengan los mismos derechos y oportunidades que todos los demás. La ADA otorga protección de los derechos civiles a las personas con discapacidades similares a las que se proporcionan a las personas por motivos de raza, color, sexo, origen nacional, edad y religión. Garantiza la igualdad de oportunidades para las personas con discapacidades en instalaciones públicas, empleo, transporte, servicios gubernamentales estatales y locales y telecomunicaciones. La ADA se divide en cinco títulos (o secciones) que se relacionan con diferentes áreas de la vida pública.

    Aprende más en https://adata.org/learn-about-ada

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The law prevents agencies that receive federal funding from discriminating against people on the basis of disability.

    Aprende más en https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

    Rights Declarations

    Below are two important declarations that relate to the rights of people with disabilities. We stand behind these declarations and believe everyone should be educated about them. 

    declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos

    Every person is a member of the human family and therefore has inherent dignity and certain inalienable rights. As members of a single, human family it is incumbent upon all to treat every person as a brother. The right to life, liberty, equality before the law, freedom of thought and movement and the chance to work are just a few of the basic rights which should be afforded to all people irrespective of gender, race, age, ethnicity or disability.

    At PCS we embrace the spirit behind the Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos.

    Los derechos de las personas con discapacidades cognitivas al acceso a la tecnología y la información

    En un mundo ahora en gran parte impulsado por la tecnología y en el que la comunicación y el acceso a la información a menudo son portales a través de dispositivos digitales, es importante trabajar hacia el acceso universal a estas herramientas de la vida diaria y la inclusión social. Para los 28 millones de ciudadanos estadounidenses con discapacidades cognitivas, el acceso a estas herramientas es importante. En PCS trabajamos diariamente para lograr una mayor integración para los discapacitados cognitivos y eso significa que consideramos el acceso a la tecnología como un problema fundamental.

    To read the official Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access, click aquí.

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