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Rising Expectations: The Developmental Disabilities Act Revisited

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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Feb. 15, 2011


Originally authorized in 1963 and last reauthorized in 2000, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act, P.L. 106-402) addresses the changing needs and expectations of the estimated more than 4.7 million individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). Congress set out to establish a set of programs to improve the lives of people with DD; to protect their civil and human rights; and to promote their maximum potential through increased independence, productivity, and integration into the community. Today, these initiatives have evolved into University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), State and Territorial Councils on Developmental Disabilities (DD Councils), Protection and Advocacy for People with Developmental Disabilities (PADD), and Projects of National Significance (PNS).

This report addresses three basic questions:

  • What has the DD Act accomplished in the past 40 years?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current structure?
  • Is the current structure suited to address the current and future social and policy environment?

An official website of the National Council on Disability