The DDC is a federally funded program through the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living and authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, Public Law 106-402 (42 USC 15001), dated October 30, 2000 (DD Act). The DD Act establishes three state-based programs that collaborate with each other as well as with other entities in their respective States. They are:
- State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD)
- State Protection and Advocacy Agencies (P&As)
- University Centers for the Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Services (UCEDD).
A fourth program is directed toward national concerns:
State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (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 helps these individuals gain more control over their lives.
The 56 Councils across the United States and its territories work to address identified needs by conducting advocacy, systems change, and capacity-building efforts that promote self-determination, integration, and inclusion. Key activities include conducting outreach, providing training and technical assistance, removing barriers, developing coalitions, encouraging citizen participation, and keeping policymakers informed about disability issues.