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Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network

These four statewide organizations in Tennessee partner with one another and with individuals with developmental disabilities and family members to ensure that they receive the services and supports they need—and jointly they take part in planning those services. Together we are working to promote principles of

  • Independence
  • Inclusion
  • Integration
  • Productivity
  • Self-Determination

The federal Developmental Disabilities Act creates State Councils, Protection and Advocacy Systems, and University Centers for Excellence in every state and U.S. territory. The Act guides each agency’s activities and promotes efforts to work collaboratively on statewide issues. The four Tennessee Network members are part of this national network, which is supported by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Health and Human Services.

How the Network Works Together

The principles of the Developmental Disabilities Act unite our organizations as a network. The Developmental Disabilities Act states that, with support, individuals with developmental disabilities can:

  • Make informed choices and decisions about their lives
  • Live in homes and communities where they can exercise their rights as citizens
  • Pursue meaningful and productive lives
  • Contribute to their families, communities, states, and nation
  • Have friendships and relationships with other persons
  • Live free of abuse, neglect, financial and sexual exploitation, and violations of their legal and human rights
  • Achieve full integration and inclusion in society, in an individualized manner, consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of each individual.

The agencies of the Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network work independently and together to achieve these goals for Tennesseans with developmental disabilities and their families. We accomplish more by working collectively. We have joined together to improve transition services in Tennessee for students with disabilities in special education, to promote inclusive higher education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to improve employment of adults with disabilities, and to support self-advocates.

All Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network partners are active on social media. Search for us on Facebook and Twitter.

Independent Living Network

In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), brought together several federal disability programs located within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Independent Living Administration programs and Developmental Disabilities Act programs,
to create the new Administration on Disabilities.

The Independent Living (IL) programs are comprised of Centers for Independent Living and Statewide
Independent Living Councils. In Tennessee there are six Centers for Independent Living (CILs), providing direct services to 35 counties and intake and referral services across the state. Additionally, Tennessee has a Statewide Independent Living Council, which provides support and technical assistance to Tennessee’s CILs.

While these programs, now united under the Administration on Disabilities, have different missions, history, cultures and structures, they all share a common goal: to improve opportunities for people with disabilities to access quality services and supports, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and experience equality and inclusion in all facets of community life.

To learn more about the work of each agency in the Independent Living Network and Developmental Disabilities Network in Tennessee, see: 2017 TN IL and DD Network joint publication.

National Network 

This national networks of State Councils, Protection and Advocacy, University Centers for Excellence, and Independent Living programs are supported by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Health and Human Services.