State Plan and Goals

The Council officially began working under a new five-year state plan in Oct. 2021 that will guide our work from 2022 to 2026.

Why does that matter?

Every state council like ours is required to write a new state plan every five years. The state plan is our map for how we will do the work we’ve been given by the federal Developmental Disabilities Act:

  • Supporting advocacy (making sure the voices of people with disabilities and their families are heard)
  • Building capacity (growing the disability supports that are available)
  • Systems change (making services better for people with disabilities)

Our state plan is always based on your input.

Hundreds of you responded to our public input survey in 2020. That survey is a key part of creating our state plan. Your responses helped us know what is important to Tennessee’s disability community. For example, you told us that the most important areas for services are:

  • health and wellness
  • money and finance
  • employment

You also told us that it is hard to learn about services in the areas that are important to you

The Council also gets ready for a new state plan by doing a “comprehensive review and analysis” of Tennessee disability services. This helps us understand all the services that already exist. We learned that Tennessee has 154 disability services across 23 different state agencies. This shows how complex the system is – and why it can be so overwhelming for people with disabilities and their families.

What we did with your input: developed the Council’s current five-year state plan!

Our plan has three broad goals. Under the goals, objectives tell the concrete ways we will meet the goal. We’ll also share some examples of current projects under each goal.

 Five-Year State Plan 2022-2026

Goal 1: Developing Engaged Leaders

  • Objective 1.1: Provide leadership learning and development programs to Tennesseans with disabilities and their family members to increase advocacy skills and engagement.
  • Objective 2.1: Support grassroots self-advocacy in Tennessee through three training and program development activities to increase advocacy skills and engagement.

Example projects: Partners in Policymaking®, Council scholarship fund, youth trainings, supporting self-advocacy groups

Goal 2: Improving Policy and Practice

  • Objective 2.1: Track, summarize in plain language, and share information with Tennesseans about policies that impact people with disabilities. Position the Council as a top resource for Tennesseans to learn about policy affecting people with disabilities.
  • Objective 2.2: Ask for and study the perspectives of people with disabilities to identify system barriers and make sure those perspective influence policy changes.
  • Objective 2.3: Measure progress toward inclusion, self-determination, and independence.

Example projects: Tracking opportunities to impact policymaking, weekly public policy e-newsletter, offering input and recommendations on policy changes, trainings on best practices

Goal 3: Informing the Public

  • Objective 3.1: Use a wide range of communication tools/platforms and partnerships to:
    • Increase accessible disability information and resources for people with disabilities and their families.
    • Build understanding and engagement on disability issues relevant to Tennesseans.
    • Increase engagement with historically underrepresented groups – including Black, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ+, immigrant, refugee, and rural communities.
  • Objective 3.2: In fiscal year 2022, work together with the Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network communications team to increase access to healthcare information for LGBTQ+ Tennesseans with disabilities.

Example projects: All Council communication platforms (like social media or our Breaking Ground magazine), community events, partnerships to share information with other agencies or groups


  • Contact our Director of Program Operations Alicia Cone if you have any specific questions about our state plan process: 615.253.1105;
  • If you have more general questions about our goals and activities, email us at