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Independent Living Values

The Independent Living Movement is a unique and powerful philosophy that focuses on independence and inclusivity. The philosophy was born out of the civil rights movement for people with disabilities dating back to the 1960's. There are Independent Living Centers throughout the United States which share the same values and goals. Independence First is part of The National Council on Independent Living, a national organization committed to empowering people with disabilities. We have State and Federal backing as we move ahead with the following principles.

Guiding Principles Of The National Council On Independent Living (NCIL) And Its Members

Disability is an expected natural condition of life. Therefore, we believe that:

  1. The rights and empowerment of people with disabilities should be promoted and we will advocate for procedures, policies, systems, regulations and legislation that promote their civil and human rights.
  2. People with disabilities, no matter the type of disability or their age, have the right to live in the community of his or her choice and to fully participate in any and all aspects of the community.
  3. People with disabilities have the right to live outside of institutions and/or nursing homes.
  4. People with disabilities have the right to receive personal assistance services when living outside of an institutions and/or nursing home.
  5. Discrimination of people based on disability must not be tolerated.
  6. Federal, State or Local governments must enforce and implement all civil rights laws that protect the rights and freedoms of people with disabilities.
  7. People with disabilities have the right to control their own destiny, therefore, they must be provided with all the information regarding all options in order to make informed choices.
  8. People with disabilities have the right to live in the setting of their choice; therefore, they must have access to accessible, affordable, integrated housing options.
  9. Consumer-control over programs and/or services, as well as a cross-disability orientation, which assures that persons with all types of disabilities receive equitable services, must be incorporated into any system that promotes full integration and participation of people into society.
  10. People with disabilities have the right to move freely throughout their community; therefore they must have access to affordable transportation that is accessible.
  11. People with disabilities have the right to economic self-sufficiency and must have the opportunities and resources to use their talents and abilities to reach their career potential. People with disabilities have the right to quality and affordable health care, therefore, the health care system must provide: a) A comprehensive basic benefits package, and b) individualized services related to specialists, durable medical equipment, prescription drugs and wellness programs.
  12. The issues that persons with disabilities have in common override the issues that mark their differences.
  13. Children and young people with disabilities are the future of America, therefore they must have access to quality education that includes the services and programs that allows them to fully participate in an integrated educational system.
  14. Those organizations, which share NCIL's values and promote the rights and empowerment of persons with disabilities, should actively participate as NCIL members.
  15. There should be a nationwide network of Centers for Independent Living, which assures that persons with disabilities have ready access to centers. Centers for Independent Living are: a) Consumer-controlled, cross disability, community based, not-for-profit corporations which are nonresidential; b) Organizations that offer the four core services: Systems and Individual Advocacy, Information & Referral, Peer Support and Independent Living Skills Training; and c) Committed to the inclusion of diverse cultural and ethnic populations.
  16. NCIL values Statewide Independent Living Councils as the organizations that are directly responsible for advocating for expanding the network of CILs and the CILs' ability to fully serve their communities.
  17. In summary, advocates for change in the current rehabilitation program find that the principles described above provide a sound foundation to further build on the achievements of recent years.