Title 37, Chapter 4, Section 2
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) "Client" means any mentally retarded person who seeks
habilitation under this chapter or any person for whom such
habilitation is sought.
(2) "Clinical record" means a written record pertaining to an
individual client and includes habilitation record, progress
notes, charts, admission and discharge data, and all other
information which is recorded by a facility and which pertains to
the client's habilitation. Such other information as may be
required by rules and regulations of the board shall also be
(3) "Community services" means all services deemed reasonably
necessary by the Department of Human Resources to provide for the
education, training, habilitation, and care of mentally retarded
individuals. Such services shall include, but not be limited to,
diagnostic and evaluation services, day-care and training
services, work activity services, community residential services
such as group family care homes, transportation services, social
services, medical services, and specified home services.
(4) "Comprehensive evaluation team" or "comprehensive habilitation
team" means and shall consist of a group of persons with special
training and experience in the assessment of needs and provision
of services for mentally retarded persons, which group shall
include, at a minimum, persons qualified to provide social,
psychological, medical, and other services. The department shall
specify the qualifications of the individuals who compose a
comprehensive evaluation team or a comprehensive habilitation team
and shall ensure that such teams are located throughout the state
so as to provide diagnostic, evaluation, and habilitation services
for all citizens of Georgia.
(5) "Court" means:
(A) In the case of an individual who is 17 years of age or older, the probate court of the county of residence of the client or the county in which such client is found. Notwithstanding Code Section 15-9-13, in any case in which the judge of said probate court is unable to hear a case brought under this chapter within the time required for such hearing, said judge shall appoint a person to serve and exercise all the jurisdiction of the probate court in such case. Any person so appointed shall be a member of the State Bar of Georgia and shall be otherwise qualified for his duties by training and experience. Such appointment may be made on a case-by-case basis or by making a standing appointment of one or more persons. Any person receiving such standing appointment shall serve at the pleasure of the judge making the appointment or his successor in office to hear such cases if and when necessary. The compensation of a person so appointed shall be as agreed upon by the judge who makes the appointment and the person appointed with the approval of the governing authority of the county for which such person is appointed and shall be paid from the county funds of said county. All fees collected for the services of such appointed person shall be paid into the general funds of the county served; or
(B) In the case of an individual who is under the age of 17
years, the juvenile court of the county of residence of the
client or the county in which such client is found.
(6) "Facility" means any state owned or state operated institution
utilized 24 hours a day for the habilitation and residence of
persons who are mentally retarded, any facility operated or
utilized for such purpose by the United States Department of
Veterans Affairs or any other federal agency, and any other
facility within the State of Georgia approved for such purpose by
(7) "Full and fair hearing" or "hearing" means a proceeding before a hearing examiner, under Code Section 37-4-42, or before a court, as defined in paragraph (5) of this Code section. The hearing may be held in a regular courtroom or in an informal setting, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court, but the hearing shall be recorded electronically or by a qualified court reporter. The client shall be provided with effective assistance of counsel. If the client cannot afford counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for him or the hearing examiner shall have the court appoint such counsel. The client shall have the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses and to offer evidence. The client shall have the right to subpoena witnesses and to require testimony before the hearing examiner or in court in person or by deposition from any physician upon whose evaluation the decision of the hearing examiner or the court may rest. The client shall have the right to obtain a continuance for any reasonable time for good cause shown. The hearing examiner and the court shall apply the rules of evidence applicable in civil cases. The burden of proof shall be upon the party seeking treatment of the client. The standard of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence. At the request of the client, the public may be excluded from the hearing; and the client need not be present if the court consents; in either of these events, the record shall reflect the reason for the hearing examiner's or the court's action.
(8) "Habilitation" means the process by which program personnel
help clients acquire and maintain those life skills which will
enable them to cope more effectively with the demands of their own
persons and of their environment and to raise the level of their
physical, mental, social, and vocational abilities.
(9) "Individualized program plan" means a proposed habilitation
program written in behavioral terms, developed by the
comprehensive evaluation team, and specifically tailored to the
needs of an individual client. Each plan shall include:
(A) A statement of the nature of the client's specific problems
and specific needs;
(B) A description of intermediate and long-range habilitation
goals and a projected timetable for their attainment;
(C) A description of the proposed habilitation program and its
relation to habilitation goals;
(D) Identification of the facility and types of professional
personnel responsible for execution of the client's habilitation
(E) A statement of the least restrictive environment necessary
to achieve the purposes of habilitation, based upon the needs of
(F) An explanation of criteria for acceptance or rejection of
alternative environments for habilitation; and
(G) Proposed criteria for release of the client into less
restrictive habilitation environments upon obtaining specified
(10) "Least restrictive alternative," "least restrictive
environment," or "least restrictive appropriate habilitation"
means that which is the least restrictive available alternative,
environment, or appropriate habilitation, as applicable, within
the limits of state funds specifically appropriated therefor.
(11) "Mental retardation" means a state of significantly
subaverage general intellectual functioning existing concurrently
with deficits in adaptive behavior and originating in the
(12) "Mentally retarded person" means a person having a
significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing
concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and originating in
the developmental period.
(13) "Mentally retarded person in need of community services" means a mentally retarded person who, after comprehensive evaluation and a hearing, is found to be in need of community services as defined in Code Section 37-5-3.
(13.1) "Mentally retarded person requiring temporary and immediate
care" means a person who is mentally retarded, and:
(A) Who presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to himself
(B) Who is in need of immediate care, evaluation, stabilization,
or treatment for certain developmental, medical, or behavioral
(C) For whom there currently exists no available, appropriate
community residential setting for meeting the needs of the
(14) "Person in charge of a client's habilitation" means a
superintendent of a facility, a case manager, or any other service
provider designated by the department to have overall
responsibility for implementation of a client's individualized
program plan. The department shall designate such a person for
each individual ordered to receive services from the department
under this chapter.
(15) "Representatives" means the persons appointed as provided in Code Section 37-4-107 to receive any notice under this chapter. (16) "Superintendent" means the chief administrative officer who has overall management responsibility at any facility receiving mentally retarded persons under this chapter or an individual appointed as the designee of such superintendent.