Washington, D.C. – It’s official! The District of Columbia now has a law on the books that will recognize and promote the decision-making rights of its residents who live with disabilities.
Thanks to the support of a of local disability rights advocates (including DCASE) and , the became official law on May 5, 2018. This important law will move the District forward in respecting the rights and dignity of all its residents in key ways by: Ending Mandatory Civil Commitment, and Formally Recognizing Supported Decision-Making.
The law makes the District of Columbia the fourth jurisdiction in the United States to statutorily recognize Supported Decision-Making Agreements. As described by the , this decision-making tool is an alternative to guardianship where an adult with a disability makes his or her own decisions by using people he or she trusts to help understand the issues and choices faced. “Years of research have shown that people with disabilities who have more control over their lives live longer, have better jobs, are more integrated in their communities, and are better able to resist abuse,” says Tina M. Campanella, Chief Executive Officer of . “Supported Decision-Making is a way people with disabilities and older adults can shape their own futures with the support they need and want.” DCASE supported this effort and is proud that DCASE schools have used supported decision making and self-advocacy as key pillars in their curriculum for students with disabilities.