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Developmental Disabilities Network

The Council on Developmental Disabilities is an independent agency created by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act). The DD Act is based on principles of self-determination, independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in all facets of community life for individuals with developmental disabilities. The DD Act creates programs that make up a DD Network in every state and U.S. Territory:

  • State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (Councils);
  • University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs); and
  • Protection & Advocacy Systems (P&As).

Click here to read the DD Act in Spanish.

Councils on Developmental Disabilities

Councils are federally-funded, self-governing organizations charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with developmental disabilities in their state. Councils advance public policy and practices that improve services to citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Key activities include conducting outreach, providing training and technical assistance, removing barriers, developing coalitions, encouraging citizen participation, and keeping policymakers informed about disability issues. The Council network is coordinated by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.

Protection and Advocacy System

 Protection & Advocacy Systems protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, including behavioral and mental health problems.  The P&A network is coordinated by the National Disability Rights Network.

Tennessee’s P&A system is operated by Disability Rights Tennessee.

University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service

University Centers support interdisciplinary training, services, research, and dissemination of information in the field of developmental disabilities. There are 64 UCEDDs nationwide. The UCEDD network is coordinated by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

Tennessee is one of the few states that has two University Centers for Excellence:

Office on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - OIDD

The Office on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the federal administering agency that oversees Councils, P&A Systems and UCEDDs.  It is located in the Administration on Community Living of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.