Frontline Initiative Teamwork
The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) was created as a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). ADD works with state governments, local communities, and the private sector to assist people with developmental disabilities to gain independence, productivity, and community integration.
The ADD was created as a result of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. The Act was based on the idea that disability is a natural part of human experience and does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to enjoy the same opportunities as other citizens. It was also based on the idea that it is in the nation’s best interest for people with developmental disabilities to be employed, and to live conventional and independent lives as a part of families and communities.
With this in mind, ADD has defined six goals in the areas of employment, self-determination, education, community support, health, and housing. ADD also emphasizes a community-based approach that recognizes and expands on the resources and benefits of diversity.
ADD attempts to meet these goals through the programs it funds, which include the State Developmental Disabilities Councils (DDCs), the Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As), the University Affiliated Programs (UAPs) and the Projects of National Significance (PNSs). Together they have developed the “Roadmap to the Future”, which establishes a course of action.
DDCs are made up of individuals with disabilities, family members, and service agency representatives. Together, they develop and implement statewide plans that address priorities such as: employment, case management, child development, and community living. They promote activities which demonstrate new approaches to enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, such as; training activities, supporting communities to respond positively, educating the public about their abilities, preferences, and needs, providing information to policy-makers to increase their opportunities, and eliminating barriers.
P&As provide advocacy, training, information, and referral services to hundreds of thousands individuals each year. They provide services for the protection and advocacy of legal and human rights in areas including: education, abuse and neglect, institutional and habilitation services, guardianship, and housing issues.
UAPs are public and private nonprofit agencies affiliated with a university. They support interdisciplinary training, exemplary community service programs, provide technical assistance to Direct Service Professionals, and conduct research and dissemination activities. The network of UAPs has expanded from 40 in 1987 to its present total of 61. Along with this growth, the focus on the consumer has grown and now emphasizes consumer empowerment, independence, and inclusion.
PNS focus on the most pressing issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families on a national level. Funds are awarded to public or private, nonprofit institutions to provide technical assistance to the state based programs (DDCs, UAPs, and P&As), and to assist with projects that “hold promise to expand or improve opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. “
In their priority areas for Fiscal year 200, ADD has awarded grants in the following areas. “Mobilizing for Change/Rapid Deployment of Good Ideas” is the first priority area and is open-ended as to subject, issue and topic. Grants were awarded to projects that “reinvent” new models in the field, which will transfer information through creative and innovative methods. The second priority area is “Bridging the Digital Divide: Building Content.” ADD will provided a grant to design and build an Internet site that will provide information on the Medicaid program for individuals and their families. The final priority is “Managing Our Program Knowledge Through Web Improvement.” ADD will issued a grant to develop a Web site to increase the ability of ADD’s programs to exchange information. ADD has developed these last two priority areas to ensure that there will not be a digital divide between the programs funded by ADD nor between the programs and those they serve.
The ADD has been involved in extensive collaborate efforts and innovative projects and programs which have had direct impact on the improvement in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Their vision of independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion in the community of all individuals is present in all of the projects and programs that it funds. ADD continues to recognize individuals with developmental disabilities as the primary decision makers in all of life’s choices and call on their expertise and insight.