Two vulnerable groups in our society are children with psychiatric problems and people with intellectual disabilities. The demand for care is growing every year in both groups. The current (Dutch) legal status of people with intellectual disabilities and children with psychiatric problems is one in which too much attention is devoted to the right to self-determination. An important question is whether this central feature is enough to support clients in both groups in such a way that they can develop their abilities. The Dutch government is currently preparing new legislation to replace the Psychiatric Hospitals Act. We recommend that this legislation should also take account of the right to development and the right to good care in order to deal with the dilemmas that will arise in the near future. © 2012 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.