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National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) Statement on the 60th Anniversary of the DD Act

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) has issued the following statement in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (DD) Act:

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the National
Disability Rights Network (NDRN), and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities
(AUCD) honor the 60th Anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of
Rights (DD) Act.

The DD Act established the DD Network, which includes State Councils on Developmental
Disabilities; University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research,
and Services (UCEDDs); and Protection & Advocacy Systems (P&As). These entities work to
identify and solve issues that individuals with developmental disabilities face in their
communities. The three DD Act programs provide training and technical assistance to
policymakers, and work to remove barriers that prevent individuals with developmental
disabilities from having their voices heard. The 56 Councils, 57 P&As, and 67 UCEDDs across the
United States also work with local, state, and federal governments to develop robust policy
solutions aimed at empowering these individuals and promoting self-determination. During the
pandemic, these programs have rapidly stood up virtual platforms to ensure that the voices and
needs of individuals with developmental disabilities can be heard and met even as traditional
health care and advocacy is interrupted. They continue to ensure that state and federal
responses to the pandemic consider and account for the needs of individuals with
developmental disabilities. The DD Network is supported by NACDD, AUCD, and NDRN.

The DD Act ensures that people with developmental disabilities and their families can plan for
support that focuses on their self-determination, independence, and being an included and
valued member of their community. The DD Network is a collaboration between the programs
and organizations sponsored and supported by the DD Act. This network supports individuals,
families, and communities by providing outreach materials, leading conferences, implementing,
and sharing research, as well as working together across policy issues.

In the years since 1963, the deinstitutionalization of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has been a large movement. Many remember the 1972 expose of Willowbrook State School, but it was not until the 1999 Supreme Court of the United States decision in Olmstead v. LC that, segregating individuals to institutions based on disability, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. This began a need for community-based services shortage of direct service providers, underfunding for HCBS, and barriers to family caregivers
being compensated.

“The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act is a key piece of legislation for our disability community. Ensuring that there are programs and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities to be successful in living in their communities and achieving their dreams is vital to our society,” says Robin Troutman, Interim Executive Director of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. “The DD Network allows for every state and territory to learn from each other, support one another, and be change-agents. It is the job of the network to share resources and create connections across the nation for individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and their communities. Every individual deserves to live and participate in their community and the DD Network is here to aid in that.”

“By creating the Protection and Advocacy Network, the DD Act ensured that people with developmental disabilities experiencing abuse, neglect, or other violations of their rights had somewhere to turn to for help,” said NDRN Executive Director Marlene Sallo. “We recognize its historic importance on this 60th Anniversary and pledge to continue working with our partners to fulfil our shared vision of full inclusion, access, and independence for people with disabilities.”

“Because of the DD Act, we can celebrate huge advances in science, community inclusion, and access to services for those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said John schida, Executive Director at AUCD. “Our organization will continue to support our members in research, education, health, and service activities, in strong alliance with our DD Act partners.”


NACDD is the national association for the 56 Councils on Developmental Disabilities (DD
Councils) across the United States and its territories. The DD Councils receive federal funding to
support programs that promote self-determination, integration, and inclusion for all people in
the United States with developmental disabilities.

About AUCD

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that
supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs.
These programs serve and are located in every U.S. state and territory and are all part of
universities or medical centers. They serve as a bridge between the university and the
community, bringing together the resources of both to achieve meaningful change.

About National Disability Rights Network:

The National Disability Rights Network works in Washington, DC on behalf of the Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) and Client Assistance Programs (CAPs), the nation’s largest providers of legal advocacy services for people with

NACDD Statement on 60th Anniversary of The DD Act