Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

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.

Council Membership

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.

Council Structure:

  • 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

Information about Minnesota Government Agencies is available at the MN.GOV and Minnesota Dept. of Administration web sites

©2024 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Administration Building   50 Sherburne Avenue   Room G10
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
Phone: 651-296-4018   Toll-free number: 877-348-0505   MN Relay Service: 800-627-3529 OR 711
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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2301MNSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.