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group photo of TN DD Council members fall of 2013The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is an independent office in state government funded through the federal Developmental Disabilities Act


The Council works to ensure that Tennesseans with developmental disabilities (including intellectual disabilities) are independent, productive, and included in their communities.


Our responsibilities include:

  • Conducting comprehensive review and analysis of state disability services
  • Identifying state policies and practices that will improve outcomes for Tennesseans with developmental disabilities
  • Developing goals to address unmet needs of Tennesseans with developmental disabilities using strategies that include:
      • Educating policymakers and the public
      • Demonstrating new approaches to services and system design
      • Facilitating interagency collaboration and coordination
      • Assuring citizen participation in government

The Council works with public and private groups across the State to find necessary supports for individuals with disabilities and their families, so that they may have equal access to public education, employment, housing, health care, and all other aspects of community life.


The Council encourages individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to play decision-making roles in policies and programs that affect them.


We, the members and staff of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, hope you enjoy visiting our website, and encourage you to explore further by following some of the links to other websites that we have provided.


Council Members

The Council on Developmental Disabilities is made up of volunteer members from across the Tennessee, appointed by the Governor and representatives of State agencies who work in the area of developmental disabilities in some capacity.


Council Staff

The Council has 8 staff members.


  • The federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance Act of 1970 established Councils on Developmental Disabilities in every state to engage in advocacy, capacity building, and systems change on the behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Council members are appointed by governors to represent and advocate for people with developmental disabilities. Council members serve in a volunteer capacity. More than 60% of these volunteers must be people with developmental disabilities or family members.
  • The DD Act also created the Developmental Disabilities Networks in each state. The DD Network includes Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Protection and Advocacy Agencies and University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. In Tennessee, our DD Network includes us, the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Disability Rights Tennessee (formerly Disability Law and Advocacy Center of TN), and 2 University Centers – Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and UT Boling Center in Memphis.
  • Councils on Developmental Disabilities are under the purview of the Administration of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which is located within the newly formed Administration on Community Living under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.