The Legislature hereby finds and declares the following:
(1) The state recognizes the value of independent living services in maximizing the ability of people with disabilities to live more independently in their own homes and communities.
(2) Persons with disabilities have the best capacity to design, develop, manage and implement the programs and services which are intended to assist them.
(3) The federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended, requires this state to develop a state plan for independent living to describe and direct independent living services in West Virginia.
(4) The federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended, further calls for the establishment and operation of a Statewide Independent Living Council to monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of the state’s plan for independent living services.
(5) Approximately twenty-three and one-half percent of West Virginia’s residents have one or more disabilities, many of whom could benefit directly or indirectly from the provision of independent living services by the Division of Rehabilitation Services and the state’s centers for independent living.
(6) A need exists for a coordinated network of consumer-controlled centers for independent living that effectively reaches persons with disabilities in all fifty-five counties of the state.