The Developmental Disabilities Assistance
and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act)
Since 1963, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) has made a crucial difference in the lives and futures of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Through the DD Act, federal funds support the development and operation of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Protection and Advocacy Systems, University Centers (formerly known as university affiliated programs), and projects of national significance.
This crucial investment has provided the structure to assist people with developmental disabilities to pursue meaningful and productive lives. These programs have made community living possible for individuals with significant disabilities across our Nation. The DD Act has led to further federal legislation in support of all people with disabilities.
When the DD Act was first conceived by President Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Dr. Robert Cooke, the primary emphasis was on the advancement of scientific understanding, professional education, and ensuring access to, and safety of, institutional facilities. Later changes, as conceived by Dr. Elizabeth Boggs, Dr. Elsie Helsel, and others, focused on the efforts of families, professionals, and state agencies to improve supports for all people with developmental disabilities. Today, the programs emphasize fundamental systems change, including legal services, advocacy, and capacity building at the state and local levels. The focus is on listening to people with developmental disabilities as self advocates, and helping people with developmental disabilities and their families obtain the information, assistive technology, and supports they need in order to make more informed choices about how and where to live and work, and be active and involved citizens in their communities.
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000
The text of The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 can be read online at Administration for Community Living (US Department of Health and Human Services) Web site.
Index of DD Act-Related Documents:
||Identification of the New Developmental Disabilities Act, Memo to Marjorie Kirkland, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
||Robert A. Dublin, Attorney, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare