Individual Rights

Individual Rights of Persons Receiving Services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities Missouri law gives individuals who receive mental health services the following rights without limitation:

      1. To humane care and treatment;
      2. To the extent that the facilities, equipment and personnel are available, to medical care and treatment in accordance with the highest standards accepted in medical practice;
      3. To safe and sanitary housing;
      4. To not participate in non-therapeutic labor;
      5. To attend or not attend religious services;
      6. To receive prompt evaluation and care, treatment, habilitation or rehabilitation about which the individual is informed insofar that person is capable of understanding;
      7. To be treated with dignity as a human being;
      8. To not be the subject of experimental research without prior written and informed consent or that of a parent, if the person is a minor, or guardian; except that no involuntary committed person shall be subject to experimental research, except as provided by statute;
      9. To decide not to participate or to withdraw from any research at any time for any reason;
      10. To have access to consultation with a private physician at the individual’s expense;
      11. To be evaluated, treated or habilitated in the least restrictive environment;
      12. To not be subjected to any hazardous treatment or surgical procedure unless the individual’s parent, if the person is a minor, or guardian consents; or unless such treatment or surgical procedure is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction;
      13. In the case of hazardous treatment or irreversible surgical procedures, to have, upon request, an impartial review prior to implementation, except in case of emergency procedures required for the preservation of life;
      14. To a nourishing, well-balanced and varied diet;
      15. To be free from verbal and physical abuse;
      16. *To wear one’s own clothes and to keep and use one’s personal possessions;
      17. *To keep and be allowed to spend a reasonable sum of one’s own money for canteen expenses and small purchases;
      18. *To communicate by sealed mail or otherwise with persons, including agencies inside or outside the facility;
      19. *To receive visitors of one’s own choosing at reasonable times;
      20. *To have reasonable access to a telephone booth to make and receive confidential calls;
      21. *To have access to one’s own mental and medical records;
      22. *To have opportunities for physical exercise and outdoor recreation;
      23. *To have reasonable, prompt access to current newspapers, magazines and radio and television programming.

*Missouri law gives individuals who receive mental health services the following rights that may be limited for safety or therapeutic reasons: Any proposed limitation of rights must be reviewed by DMH Regional Office or State Operated Programs Human Rights Committee to ensure that a person’s rights are adequately protected.

A person receiving services and/or the person’s parents, guardian or authorized representative shall be informed of the person’s rights in language that is easily understood.

      • At the time of enrollment and annually the Division will ensure the person and/or the person’s parents, guardian or legal representative receive a written description of the person’s rights and how to exercise them.
      • Rights will be read and explained in the best format for the person understands based on the persons needs.

If a person receiving services has complaints of abuse, neglect or violation or limitation of rights, the person, the person’s parents, guardian or authorized representative may contact their service coordinator, Regional Office, Habilitation Center representative, or they may contact the Department’s consumer rights monitor (Constituent Services) at 800-364-9687 or TT 573-526-1201 for assistance.

The Division shall have policies and procedures that enhance and protect the human, civil and statutory rights of all persons receiving services.

The Division and each service provider shall have policies and procedures for providing positive supports to persons receiving services. Those policies and procedures shall be consistent with the enhancement and protection of human rights.

The Division shall report abuse and neglect as mandated by law. Any violation of rights shall constitute, at a minimum, inadequate care and treatment.

The following is an explanation of your rights in people first language. It is important for every person to know his or her rights. These are the rights of individuals who receive services from the Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities:

Due Process

      • When you apply for services, the regional office or habilitation center must give you, your parents, your guardian, or any other person you choose a written copy of your rights. If any changes in your services are made, you will receive a new copy of your rights.
      • Regional offices, habilitation centers and provider agencies that have staff who work with you have rules to provide you good help. They have rules to make sure you learn and understand your rights, and that no one takes your rights away before you have a chance to speak for yourself or have someone you choose speak for you. This is called due process.
      • You have the same legal rights and responsibilities as any other person unless the court says you do not. • You have the right to get help. You cannot be denied help because of your race, your religion, your disability or your age. It does not matter if you are a man or woman, married or single.
      • Before your rights or services can be limited or taken away, you have the right to be heard or to have someone you choose speak for you. This is called due process.
      • Any proposed limitation of rights must be reviewed by DMH Regional Office or State Operated Programs Human Rights Committee to ensure that a person’s rights are adequately protected.

Services and Supports

      • You have the right to get your services and supports in the most integrated setting and in a way that best meets your needs. To determine those services, these people may be involved: you, your parents, your guardian or any other person of your choice.
      • You have the right to know what the regional office and habilitation center rules are for the services and supports you receive.
      • You have the right to have your services, supports and personal records explained to you so you understand them.
      • You have the right to receive and read your personal records.
      • You have the right to receive and sign a copy of your personal plan.
      • You have the right to have your records kept private.

Abuse and Neglect

      • You have the right not to be abused or neglected. Abuse can be physical, verbal, mental, sexual or financial. Neglect is not getting the things you need to be healthy and safe.
      • If you think you are being abused, neglected, or your rights taken away, you, your parents, your guardian, or any other person you choose can contact your regional office or habilitation center for help. You can also call consumer rights monitor (Constituents Services) in Jefferson City at 1-800-364-9687 for help.
      • People who work for the regional office or habilitation center must report any abuse or neglect that they see or that people report to them.

For more tools on explaining individual rights visit the Divisions of Developmental Disabilities website:

Missouri Department of Mental Health Division of Developmental Disabilities

PO Box 687 Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: 573-751-4054
Fax: 573-751-9207
Toll Free: 800-207-9329


Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Rights of People With Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access

In a world now largely driven by technology and one in which communication and access to information often portals through digital devices, it’s important to work toward universal access to these tools of daily living and societal inclusion. For the 28 million U.S. citizens with cognitive disabilities, access to these tools is important. At PCS we work daily toward increased integration for the cognitively disabled and that means we look upon access to technology as a fundamental issue. To read the official Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access, click here.




Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015. The following are some of the provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools.

  • 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.
  • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools.

For more information go to:


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (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.

For more highlights on additional reforms to the workforce system go to:


Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act)

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:


Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Rules

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.

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IDEA Act (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) – this 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 teach students with disabilities in general education classroom whenever possible.
  • To give parents a voice in their child’s education. Under IDEA, you have a say in the educational decisions the school makes about your child. At every point of the process, the law gives you specific rights and protections. These are called procedural safeguards.

Learn more at


Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

Learn more at