About the Council
The Mission and Mandate
The first Council was appointed in October 1971 in accordance with the authority prescribed to the Governor of Minnesota by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. The Act requires a state council to serve as an advocate for all persons with developmental disabilities by carrying out activities in major areas of emphasis.
The Council is composed of 25 members appointed for three-year terms with a maximum of two consecutive terms. Each member is appointed by the Governor from among state residents. Council members include representatives of state agencies responsible for administering federal funds that support programs and services for people with developmental disabilities and the elderly. Council members represent the Departments of Education, Health, Employment and Economic Development, and Human Services; the Board on Aging; the Institute on Community Integration (University Center for Excellence) and the Minnesota Disability Law Center (Protection and Advocacy system). Nongovernmental agencies and private nonprofit organizations are also represented.
- At least 60% must be people with developmental disabilities, or parents / guardians.
- Of this 60 percent, one-third must have developmental disabilities; and at least one-third must be relatives or guardians of people with developmental disabilities.
- Another one-third must be immediate relatives or guardians of people with mentally impairing developmental disabilities, one of whom must be an immediate relative of an institutionalized or previously institutionalized person with a developmental disability;
- None of these individuals can be an employee of a state agency, nor managing employee of other organizations receiving funds or providing services under the Act.
- The state provides assurances that the federal membership requirements have been met.
Federal Definition of Developmental Disability
Developmental disabilities result from severe chronic mental and/or physical impairments which occur at an early age. The impairments are likely to continue indefinitely, and have a pervasive effect on an individual.
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-230), defines a developmental disability as:
A severe chronic disability of an individual 5 years of age or older that:
- is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
- is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
- is likely to continue indefinitely;
- results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency:
- reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, supports, or other assistance that are lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated, except that such term, when applied to infants and young children means individuals from birth to age 5, inclusive, who have substantial delay or specific congenital or acquired conditions with a high probability of resulting in developmental disabilities if services are not provided. [Section 103(8)]
Colleen Wieck, Ph. D., Executive Director
Toll-free number: 1-877-348-0505