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The President's Committee For People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) Fact Sheet

The Role of the PCPID

On April 25, 2003, as part of the annual celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the President's Committee on Mental Retardation was renamed to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by President George W. Bush. This was done through amendment of Executive Order 12994. In renaming the Committee, the terms "mental retardation" and "intellectual disabilities" were considered synonyms. Thus, the Committee would be addressing the same population as in the past but under a more acceptable name.

It is estimated that there are seven to eight million Americans of all ages who experience mental retardation or intellectual disabilities. Intellectual disabilities affect about one in ten families in the USA.

The President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), formerly known as the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, was initially organized as a blue ribbon Panel by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and formally established as a Committee by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 under an Executive Order. Eight years later, in 1974, new goals for the Committee focusing on deinstitutionalization, prevention and legal rights were established by President Nixon. In 1996, a new set of goals for the Committee encouraging full community inclusion and citizens’ rights were created by President Bill J. Clinton.

Much has changed for people with intellectual disabilities since the 1960's due to advances in medicine, technology, research, education, and public understanding. It is the purpose of the PCPID to advise the President on the achievements, continuing needs, and emerging issues in this dynamic field. PCPID evaluates the adequacy of current practices and programs and reviews federal agency activities impacting on people with intellectual disabilities. The Committee highlights the need for appropriate changes and encourages research, education and services and supports relating to people with intellectual disabilities.

As opportunities may present themselves, the Committee collaborates with other Federal agencies and national organizations in convening conferences and forums and disseminating information to the public on issues and accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities.

Composition of the PCPID

The Committee consists of 21 citizen members appointed by the President and thirteen ex officio (Federal Government) members designated by the President. The thirteen ex officio members include the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the President and CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Chair of the National Council on Disabilities and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. The ex officio members undertake Committee duties in addition to their daily occupations.

The PCPID meets periodically, up to four times a year, and reports its findings to the President of the United States, in accordance with the President’s Executive Order.

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