The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, (Welfare and Institutions Code) was passed in California in 1969. This significant state law outlines the rights and responsibilities of persons with developmental disabilities as well as created the Regional Centers as central points of contact for persons with developmental disabilities and their families.
The Lanterman Act establishes an entitlement to services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities. This entitlement means that individuals with developmental disabilities have the right to receive services and supports which enable them to make decisions and choices about how, and with whom, they want to live their lives; achieve the highest self-sufficiency possible; and lead productive, independent and satisfying lives.
The Lanterman Act declares that persons with developmental disabilities have the same legal rights and responsibilities guaranteed all other persons by federal and state constitutions and laws, and charges the Regional Center with advocacy for, and protection of, these rights.