§49-4A-1. Findings.
(a) The West Virginia Legislature finds that families are the greatest resource available to individuals with developmental disabilities, and they must be supported in their role as primary caregivers. It further finds that supporting families in their effort to care for their family members at home is more efficient, cost effective and humane than placing the developmentally disabled person in an institutional setting.

(b) The Legislature accepts the following as basic principles for providing services to support families of people with developmental disabilities:

(1) The quality of life of children with developmental disabilities, their families and communities is enhanced by caring for the children within their own homes. Children with disabilities benefit by growing up in their own families, families benefit by staying together and communities benefit from the inclusion of people with diverse abilities.

(2) Adults with developmental disabilities should be afforded the opportunity to make decisions for themselves, live in typical homes and communities and exercise their full rights as citizens. Developmentally disabled adults should have the option of living separately from their families but when this is not the case, families of disabled adults should be provided the support services they need.

(3) Services and support for families should be individualized and flexible, should focus on the entire family and should promote the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of school and community life.

(4) Families are the best experts about what they need. The service system can best assist families by supporting families as decision makers as opposed to making decisions for them.

(c) The Legislature finds that there are at least ten thousand West Virginians with developmental disabilities who live with and are supported by their families, and that the state's policy is to prevent the institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities.

(d) To maximize the number of families supported by this program, each family will contribute to the cost of goods and services based on their ability to pay, taking into account their needs and resources.

(e) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to initiate, within the resources available, a program of services to support families who are caring for family members with developmental disabilities in their homes.