Highlights of the Reauthorization of the

Developmental Disabilities Act of 1999

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 104-183) is currently being reauthorized. The Senate has released a draft reauthorization bill with important changes that are summarized below.

Principles of Reauthorization:

* Clarify and update the Actís purpose and programs;

* Streamline language and organization of the Act;

* Improve the accountability of the DD Act programs;

* Improve coordination and collaboration within and across the DD programs; and

* Provide greater flexibility related to State needs and priorities.

Themes of Reauthorization:

Need for

* Greater control, choice, and full participation in the community;

* Protection from abuse and neglect;

* Services and supports for aging parents;

* Addressing waiting lists for services;

* Increased public awareness.

General Purpose of the Act:

"The purpose of this Act 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 independence, productivity, self determination in the lives of these individuals, and create opportunities for them to participate fully in community life through programs authorized under this Act."

Changes to Part D (Currently University Affiliated Programs)

1. Change in Name

The Reauthorization Bill proposes changing the name of UAPs to University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. While we are not sure of the final name decision, it is likely that "Programs" will become "Centers". The purpose of the Centers will be to:

"Provide interdisciplinary preservice preparation of students and fellows, continuing education for individuals who support or assist individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, community and family education, technical assistance, and model demonstration activities; to conduct applied research and policy analysis; disseminate information and research findings, and policy analyses."

2. Core Functions

Core functions will continue to include: interdisciplinary preservice training; community services that provide Technical Assistance, or model services and supports; and dissemination of information. The draft bill includes the additional core function of Research: basic, applied and evaluation.

3. Common Goal in Quality Assurance

The Reauthorization bill focuses on "quality assurance activities" which are defined as advocacy, capacity-building (training), and systemic change activities that result in systems of quality assurance and consumer protection including monitoring of services, supports, and other assistance needed by individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and guardians of these individuals, so that these services, supports, and other assistance contribute to and protect the health, safety, self-determination, and legal and human rights of individuals with developmental disabilities

Under the reauthorization, the UAPs, DD Councils and P&As will work collaboratively to include at least one goal each year that addresses quality assurance.

4.Training Initiative Projects (TIPs)

Current TIPs will continue with their funding folded into core until all current grants are completed. In the Senate Bill, TIPs are referred to as National Training Initiatives in Critical and Emerging Needs. Specific issue areas of focus will be determined jointly between the Centers and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities with input from other national organizations representing individuals and families with developmental disabilities. Additional funding will be sought for these Initiatives.

5. National Technical Assistance

Under this reauthorization, Centers will increase efforts and receive more technical assistance to disseminate information both nationally and internationally, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to do so.

6. Funding

The Reauthorization authorizes Centers to be funded up to $500,000 per Center. This amount of funding includes funding for National Training Initiatives in Emerging Needs but does not prohibit Congress from appropriating additional dollars for such projects.

Once the Centers receive at least a 2% increase in core funding, up to 2% of the total funding will be used for technical assistance rather than utilizing funds under Part E for such purposes.