Supported Decision Making

At the Council, we recognize that decision-making is a human right – regardless of your label or circumstances. We have invested in making Tennessee a place where people with disabilities and their supporters can find easy-to-understand information about decision-making supports in one place.

Check out the Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Support. This Center is supported in a joint effort by The Arc Tennessee, Disability Rights Tennessee and the Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Background: Why was the Center created?

The Council began focusing on decision-making in 2016. We were hearing from Tennesseans with disabilities who wanted more control over their own lives. We also heard from family members, friends or other supporters who wanted to understand the options but didn’t know where to start. We saw first-hand how complicated the information can be, especially when legally recognized supports (like powers of attorney, special needs trusts, and conservatorship) are needed. This was an information gap we knew we had to fix.

From 2016 through 2019, we worked with The Arc TN, Disability Rights TN, and other partners to offer training on decision-making supports to thousands of Tennesseans. We shared information with adults with disabilities, families, educators, disability service providers, lawyers, judges, doctors, and others.

In 2020, we funded and launched the TN Center for Decision-Making Support. The Center offers:

  • Easy-to-understand, accurate information about decision-making options, such as supported decision-making*, power of attorney, conservatorship, and more. (*Supported decision-making is the idea that a person has the right to make decisions to the full extent possible, even as they get needed support. See the videos below to learn more.)
  • Financial tools like special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, and more.
  • Practical resources to help you plan for the future and know what decision-making supports are right for you.
  • Stories of how real people with disabilities in Tennessee get the support they need to make decisions about their lives.
  • A contact form to reach the center’s team for one-on-one help.

The center’s trained staff can answer questions, provide limited one-on-one decision-making help, and make referrals to legal help. As the center’s legal partner, Disability Rights TN has dedicated staff who can provide legal counsel about decision-making options. Learn more at

The TN Center for Decision-Making Support logo, an abstract image in orange and light blue of circles and arcs implying two people creating a circle of support. Below reads, “Information, tools, and resources about decision-making options for people with disabilities. A collaborative effort by The Arc Tennessee, Tennessee’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights Tennessee.

This Page Last Updated: August 17, 2022 at 3:26 PM