Department of Developmental Services

The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), one of 13 departments comprising the California Health and Welfare Agency, is the department through which the State of California provides services and support to children and adults with developmental disabilities. These disabilities include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and related conditions.

With an annual budget of over 1.6 billion dollars and approximately 7,000 employees, DDS provides services and support for over 140,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities. In addition, DDS annually serves 14,000-16,000 children at risk for disability through its early intervention programs. These services are provided through state-operated developmental centers and contracts with twenty-one nonprofit agencies called regional centers.

The mission of DDS is to provide leadership and direction to help ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities have the opportunity to lead more independent, productive and normal lives as envisioned by the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act.

The vision statement of the Department is based on the following goals:

  • People with developmental disabilities will participate in valued ways with their friends, neighbors and co-workers in all areas of community life, with support being provided to enable them to have real choices in where to live, work and socialize.
  • Families are respected and supported in their role of primary decision-makers on behalf of their minor children.
  • Professionals join in partnership with families, supporting their cultural preferences, values and lifestyles.
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the state developmental centers receive services appropriate to their needs that allow them to develop and achieve their full potential.
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the community are supported in natural settings with opportunities to live in their own homes, to be involved in meaningful activities in integrated settings and to participate in community life.
  • The service system for persons with developmental disabilities supports rather than controls individuals and families, entering into partnerships that promote self-determination and interdependence. The outcomes for individuals merit continued public support.