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Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network

These four statewide organizations in Tennessee partner to improve our state’s services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. These organizations are guided by input from people with disabilities and their family members, who help us know what is working and where the gaps are. Together, we are working to promote the goals of the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act):

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

The federal Developmental Disabilities Act created State Councils, Protection and Advocacy Systems, and University Centers for Excellence in every state and U.S. territory. The Act was written by people with developmental disabilities, their families, and disability policy experts, and guides each agency’s activities. Tennessee is a national leader in how closely our DD Act agencies work together. Our national network of DD Act agencies is organized under the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

How the Network Works Together

Tennessee’s Developmental Disabilities Network agencies align their work with the Developmental Disabilities Act. We accomplish more by working collectively. We have joined to:

  • Improve transition services for students with disabilities getting ready to graduate from high school.
  • Promote higher education opportunities (college programs) for students with developmental disabilities.
  • Grow employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. 
  • Support advocates with a developmental disability to mentor their peers.

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.