Snapshot of TN Disability Services in 2019

Council Comprehensive Review and Analysis

Every 5 years, the Council on Developmental Disabilities creates a summary of disability-related programs and services in Tennessee state government. The information is collected from publicly available information and responses to a survey of state government agencies. Therefore, information is not intended to be fully up-to-date, comprehensive, or exhaustive. Many thanks to Council interns Lauren McCabe and Conor Rayel for organizing the information.

The purpose of the summary is to offer a snapshot in time, illustrating the breadth and depth of the disability system.

As of 2019, we counted at least 23 state agencies with 154 unique disability-related programs in Tennessee State Government.

Impact to Tennesseans: A Far-reaching, Complex Disability System

This summary shows that nearly every aspect of state government affects people with disabilities. It also shows the great complexity of this system: every program has its own eligibility criteria, for example. Most families and professionals say it is difficult to find information about disability services in Tennessee. When we surveyed nearly 900 Tennesseans in 2019, less than 22% of respondents indicated that they know where to find disability services when they need them.

Path to a solution: One-Stop Information & Referral

The Council on Developmental Disabilities is committed to addressing this barrier for Tennesseans. In partnership with the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Commission on Aging and Disability we are invested in the state’s Information and Referral center dedicated to disability services: Tennessee Disability Pathfinder. The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has managed this service for over 15 years with our support. Together, we are committed to modernizing and expanding the service in 2022 and beyond.