SENATE SUBSTITUTE NO. 1
SENATE BILL NO. 566
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 55, PART V, TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE MENTALLY RETARDED; AND PROVIDING FOR A BILL OF RIGHTS.
WHEREAS, the universal declaration of human rights, adopted by the United Nations, proclaims that all of the human family, without distinction of any kind, have equal and inalienable rights of human dignity and freedom; and
WHEREAS, the declaration of the rights of the child, adopted by the United Nations, proclaims the rights of the physically, mentally or socially handicapped child to special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition; and
WHEREAS, the International League of Societies for the Mentally Handicapped and similar groups have expressed the general and special rights of mentally retarded persons, especially the right to respect.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 55, Part V, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by striking the title of Subchapter II, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"SUBCHAPTERII. HOSPITAL FOR THE MENTALLY RETARDED AT STOCKLEY"
Section 2. Amend Chapter 55, Part V, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by re-designating present §5501 as new §5520 within Subchapter II of said Chapter 55.
Section 3. Amend Chapter 55, Part V, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto the following:
"SUBCHAPTERI. DECLARATION OF GENERAL AND
SPECIAL RIGHTS OF THE MENTALLY RETARDED
§5501. Basic rights
Mentally retarded persons have the same basic rights as other citizens.
§5502. Development of abilities
and physical restoration and to such education, training, habilitation and guidance as will enable them to develop their abilities and potentials to the fullest possible extent, no matter how severe their disability may be.
§5503. Economic security and meaningful occupations
Mentally retarded persons have a right to strive for productive work in meaningful occupations, economic security, and a decent standard of living.
§5504. Normal living arrangements
Mentally retarded persons have a right to live with their families or with foster parents; to participate in all aspects of community life; and to have access to appropriate leisure time activities. If care in an institution becomes necessary, it should be in surroundings and under circumstances as close to normal living as possible.
§5505. Qualified guardians
Mentally retarded persons have a right to a qualified guardian when this is required to protect their personal wellbeing and interests. No person or agency rendering direct services to a
mentally retarded person shall also serve as such person's guardian.
§5506. Protection from exploitation and abuse
Mentally retarded persons have a right to protection from exploitation, abuse and degrading treatment. If accused, the mentally retarded person has a right to a fair trial with full recognition being given to his degree of responsibility.
§5507. Due process
Some mentally retarded persons may be unable, due to the severity of their handicap, to exercise for themselves all of their rights in a meaningful way. For others, modification of some or all of these rights is appropriate. The procedure used for modification or denial of rights must contain proper legal safeguards against every form of abuse; must be based on an evaluation of the social capability of the mentally retarded person by qualified experts; and must be subject to periodic reviews, and to the right of appeal to higher authorities."
Approved May 9, 1978.