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State Council's on Developmental Disabilities

Congress created 'State Council's on Developmental Disabilities'; one in each state and territory, to change service systems to better respond to the needs, wants and desires of people with I/DD and develop advocacy strategies to make change happen.  Councils are federally funded, self-governing organizations charged with identifying the most pressing needs of people with developmental disabilities in their state or territory. Councils are committed to advancing public policy and systems change that help these individuals gain more control over their lives. The law that drives this commitment is the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD ACT).

The purpose of the DD Act, as described in the current law, is to “assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life

The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council

The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) is a group of 21 Michigan citizens. Members are appointed to the Council by the governor. They come from across the state and are people with disabilities; family members of people with disabilities; and professionals from state and local agencies who provide supports and services to people with developmental disabilities. This diversity enables the Council to better analyze and improve systems and services within the state and ensure that the voices of people with developmental disabilities and their families are heard.


The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council’s mission is to support people with developmental disabilities to achieve life dreams.


The Council’s vision is that all people with disabilities are supported across their lifespan to live self-determined and self-directed lives in a diverse and inclusive community.

The Council’s core values are:

Including People with High and Complex Support Needs in all Activities. This population is the Council’s core constituency. Developing supports that help them to live self-directed inclusive lives automatically demonstrates that other people with disabilities can live self-determined lives in inclusive communities. Including this population requires an on-going commitment to continuing to learn to provide better supports and accommodations for them.

Self-Direction and Self-Determination. The Council advocates for systems and communities that support people with developmental disabilities to live the lives they choose, living where they prefer with the people they decide to live with, doing what they choose, and receiving services the way they choose to have them delivered.

Voice at the Policy Table. People with developmental disabilities and their families must be able to participate in the design of the services and supports they need. They must also be able to make their voices heard as citizens across the landscape of policy development. Support of this value also requires ongoing commitment to improving supports and accommodations to allow full access to the policy table, especially for those with high and complex needs.

Economic Justice and Addressing Poverty. A very high proportion of people with disabilities live in poverty, and a high proportion of people living in poverty have disabilities. Improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities requires attention to economic justice and poverty. This attention adds an important perspective on the issues of people with developmental disabilities and opens opportunities for building partnerships with other poverty advocacy groups.

Community Inclusion. The Council works for people with developmental disabilities to exercise their right to full community inclusion, including inclusion in social and civic life, in the world of work, in access to community living, and in access to community programs and services.

Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities. The Council’s ongoing tasks include helping people learn to understand their rights and exercise them. In addition, the Council campaigns for accountability when governments and others ignore the rights of people with developmental disabilities, lose track of them or violate them.

Diversity and Equity. The Council intentionally focuses on race, ethnicity, and other intersectional identities to eliminate historical and systemic marginalization and create systems change.