ASAN applauds the Delaware General Assembly for passing Senate Bill No. 230, which allows people with disabilities in Delaware to form legally recognized supported decision making agreements. The bill would allow any person with a disability to designate another person to act as their supporter. The supporter would be able to assist the person in making any major life decision, including important medical, psychological, or educational decisions. The supporter would not make these decisions for the person, but instead would help them to understand the major issues involved, schedule and attend medical appointments, and otherwise aid in ensuring that the person’s wishes are heard and adhered to. This makes Delaware the second state after Texas to pass supported decision-making legislation.
This legislation is part of a growing movement to legally recognize supported decision-making agreements, offering people with disabilities and families a better alternative to more restrictive guardianship and conservatorship. Supported decision-making presumes that — rather than denying a specific group of people the right to make decisions as adults solely on the basis of their disability– those making use of it have the ability and the right to make their own decisions, with support as requested. Supported decision-making allows people with disabilities to get the help they might need for making some decisions without depriving them of their legal right to make choices for themselves.
ASAN itself has written model supported decision-making legislation widely used as a template for state legislation, presented at supported decision-making symposiums and conferences, and otherwise has supported and bolstered most state efforts to pass supported decision-making laws. ASAN worked closely with Delaware supported decision-making advocates to craft this bill, in part modeled on our draft legislation. ASAN also created a cognitively accessible policy toolkit on supported decision-making law and policy nationally and internationally.1http://autisticadvocacy.org/home/policy-center/policy-advocacy-toolkits/the-right-to-make-choices-international-laws-and-decision-making-by-people-with-disabilities/
With this legislation, Delaware’s General Assembly has affirmed its commitment to the dignity and rights of all Delaware citizens, including citizens with disabilities. ASAN encourages Delaware’s Governor, Jack Markell, to sign this bill into law immediately.
For more information on ASAN’s work on supported decision-making policy and legislation, contact Samantha Crane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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