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(1.2) What has the California Supreme Court said about the Lanterman Act?

(1.2) What has the California Supreme Court said about the Lanterman Act?

There is a case from 1985 called, “Association for Retarded Citizens-California (ARC) v. Department of Developmental Services (DDS).”[1]38 Cal.3d 384 (1985). In that case, the California Supreme Court explained the purposes of the Lanterman Act and how the state must help people with developmental disabilities.

The Court said the Lanterman Act required the state to provide a “pattern of facilities and services sufficiently complete to meet the needs of each person with developmental disabilities, regardless of age or degree of [disability], and at each stage of life.”

These required services include:

  • Identifying people with developmental disabilities,
  • Assessing their needs, and
  • Selecting and providing services to meet each person’s individual needs.

The Court also explained that the purpose of the law is to:

  • Lower the number of people with developmental disabilities living in institutions and being removed from their family and community, and
  • Allow people with developmental disabilities to have the same kind of lives as people of the same age without disabilities, and to lead more independent and productive lives in the community.

The Lanterman Act says the “State of California accepts a responsibility for its developmentally disabled citizens and an obligation to them which it must discharge.”[2]Section 4501. It says people “with developmental disabilities have the same legal rights and responsibilities [as those] guaranteed all other individuals by the Federal Constitution and laws and the Constitution and laws of the State of California.” [3]Section 4502. It also gives people with developmental disabilities certain legal rights, including the right to treatment and habilitation at state expense.

1 38 Cal.3d 384 (1985).
2 Section 4501.
3 Section 4502.