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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.

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, 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 the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (US Department of Health and Human Services) Web site.

Spanish Translation: Ley de Asistencia para Discapacidades del Desarrollo y Declaración de Derechos de 2000 (acl.gov)

Technical Correction to the DD Act


Allan Bergman on the Evolution of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act)

Allan Bergman is a nationally recognized leader in influencing the development of federal and state policy relating to best practice services and supports for persons with disabilities. He has held leadership positions within local, state, and national non-profit organizations, most recently serving as CEO of Anixter Center, one of Chicago's largest community agencies. Prior to that, he served as President and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America and held several Director positions with United Cerebral Palsy Associations.

At the June 2, 2010 meeting of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, Allan Bergman talked about the evolution of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). In interview format, he then responded to specific questions about the DD Act and shared little known stories about how certain aspects of the DD Act came about over the years.

Interview: Allan Bergman on the DD Act »

Allan Bergman
Allan Bergman

Current Policy and Regulations Governing the DD Act Programs

Policy and Regulations | ACL Administration for Community Living

In July 2015, ACL released a final rule providing guidance on implementing the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act).

The rule strengthens and provides clarity for critical programs that promote the independence, inclusion, and civil rights of Americans with developmental disabilities and their families.

AIDD also issued guidance memoranda throughout the years for DD Act-related programs, such as reporting requirements, transferring funds, and other areas of activity.

AIDD Guidance and Information Memorandums | ACL Administration for Community Living

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) Funding Allocations | ACL Administration for Community Living


Interview with Senator Lowell Weicker and John Doyle on Institutional Abuses
Interview with Senator Lowell Weicker and John Doyle on the Education of All Handicapped Children Act

DD Acts, Reports, and Proceedings of Hearings (1963 - 1994)
A Brief Chronological Overview of the DD Act
Archival DD Act Regulations (1977-2000)
Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Archival Policy Memos/Information Memo (1983 - 2000)
Defining a Developmental Disability (1977-1982)
Assorted Manuals About DD Councils (1973-1995)
Technical Assistance Documents Produced by Technical Assistance Systems, University of North Carolina (1974-1977)
Technical Assistance Documents Produced by EMC Institute (1978-1983)
Technical Assistance Documents Produced by ICP (1980-1981)
National Summary Reports About DD Councils (1985-1990)
Reviews of DD Councils (1977-1996)
DD Themes & Issues: A Series of Topical Papers on Developmental Disabilities

HEW Newsletters
HEW: Federal Reports About Funding
HEW: Construction

©2022 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711  Email: admin.dd.info@state.mn.us   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

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 2001MNSCDD-03, 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.