1986 — Citizens with Mental Retardation: Equality Under the Law
With President’s Committee on Mental Retardation: A Historical Review 1966–1986
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publications, Annual Reports to the President
- Annual Reports
For over 20 years, beginning with the President's Panel on Mental Retardation, and continuing with the President's Committee on Mental Retardation (PCMR), the Committee has monitored the relationship between citizens with mental retardation and the law with great interest. The Committee's diligence in monitoring this relationship is built upon an acute awareness that although citizens with mental retardation have the basic rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, American society has frequently denied mentally retarded citizens full access to these rights. The intent of this Special Report to the President is that it will serve to strengthen the awareness of public policy makers and the general public regarding this dichotomy as well as to the need to ensure continued availability of Federally protected rights for citizens with mental retardation.
The information and recommendations contained in this Report to the President are the result of the Second National Conference on Citizens with Mental Retardation and the Law held March 14–16, 1985. The Conference was sponsored by the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Department of Education, the Resident Home for the Mentally Retarded of Hamilton County, Inc., Ohio, and the City University of New York Law School at Queens College. The focus of the Conference was to assess the accomplishments and the problems in the legal rights area since PCMR sponsored the First National Conference in 1973, to consider current trends, to define a base for the efforts in this area and to develop a scenario through the end of the century.
The Report includes selected resolutions passed by the President's Committee on Mental Retardation which relate to the subject of the Report. These are the only items in the Report which represent the official position of the Committee.
Albert L. Anderson, D.D.S.
President's Committee on Mental Retardation
A Historical Review 1966–1986
Over the past three decades, we have witnessed many accomplishments in the field of mental retardation. In the 1950's, in response to the social activism of families and professionals concerned with the condition of mental retardation, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare established the Secretary's Committee on Mental Retardation. This was the first emerging effort to coordinate Federal activities in mental retardation.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation, which resulted in the involvement of the executive and legislative branches in setting policies and establishing new programs. Federal initiative was matched by the fifty States as governors and their administrators followed the lead of President Kennedy.
Since 1966, the President's Committee on Mental Retardation has been successful in meeting its objectives through coordination of all three branches of government. In addition, it has encouraged advocacy organizations to keep the rights of people with mental retardation in the foreground. During the decade of the 1970's to the present, considerable activities have taken place under the leadership of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. The results of this collaboration between government, voluntary, individual and community efforts, and the private sector are reported, in this publication.
It is hoped that this historical account will be helpful to future members of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, State Developmental Disabilities Councils, Associations for Retarded Citizens, and to the many voluntary and charitable groups whose contributions are an everyday event.
Today the field of mental retardation is entering a period of change, with greater community involvement and awareness, and the development of closer alliances between organizational interests. Because of this, we feel an historical account is timely—one that will provide both background and direction for future accomplishments.