Statement by the President: Signing of the "Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000" (10/30/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            October 30, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today, I am pleased to sign into law S. 1809, the "Developmental
Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000."  This legislation
reauthorizes programs that support people with developmental disabilities
and helps them achieve their maximum potential through increased
self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration in all
facets of life.  The Act also adds important new authority to provide
services and activities for families of individuals with developmental
disabilities and the dedicated workers who assist them.

     Since 1963, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of
Rights Act has made a crucial difference in the lives and futures of
individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.  Through
this Act, Federal funds support the development and operation of State
Councils, Protection and Advocacy Systems, University Centers (formerly
known as university affiliated programs), and projects of national
significance.  This crucial investment has provided the structure to assist
people with developmental disabilities to pursue meaningful and productive
lives.  These programs have made community living possible for individuals
across our Nation with significant disabilities.  The Act has led to
further Federal legislation in support of all people with disabilities.
Therefore, it is only fitting that I am signing this legislation in the
same year as the 25th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act and the 10th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities

     When the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act
was first conceived by President Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Dr.
Robert Cooke, the primary emphasis was on the advancement of scientific
understanding, professional education, and ensuring access to, and safety
of, institutional facilities.  Later changes, as conceived by Dr. Elizabeth
Dr. Elsie Helsel, and others, focused on efforts of families,
professionals, and State agencies to improve supports for all people with
developmental disabilities.  Today, the programs emphasize fundamental
system change, including legal services and advocacy and capacity-building
at the State and local levels.  The focus is on listening to people with
developmental disabilities as self-advocates, and helping people with
develop-mental disabilities and their families obtain the information,
assistive technology, and supports they need to make more informed choices
about how and where to live.  An important aspect of today's work is to
ensure self-determination and access to supports for historically unserved
and underserved populations across the Nation.  To ensure continued
progress in these areas, S. 1809 now includes performance-based
accountability requirements.

     The programs carried out through this Act improve and expand
opportunities for individuals with developmental dis-abilities and their
families.  My Administration is committed
to working with Indian Tribes on a government-to-government basis to
address issues of shared concern, and I encourage the next Administration
and Congress to explore ways for this legislation to provide appropriate
roles for Indian Tribes and Native Americans pursuant to this legislation.

     Investments in the freedom and the future of Americans with
significant, lifelong disabilities are important investments in the
well-being of our Nation.  For these reasons, I am pleased to sign the
"Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000."

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    October 30, 2000.

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