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The Developmental Disabilities (DD) System

The Developmental Disabilities system is large and complicated, and some people are very confused by it - especially when they first become involved with the system. It can be especially hard on families during times of transition or stress, when you may not know who to call. (See our Decision Tree to find out the first places you should contact for different situations, from questions about a child's development to residential options for adults.) Often, a family support group or self-advocacy group
(such as The Arc or People First)
can help you figure out who to contact for different questions.

But it's also important to learn as much as you can about the different parts of the system and how they work, and to apply for any benefits you or your family member may qualify for. In general, you should begin by applying for services through the
Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), which is a state office that is part of the
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). When you are approved for services, you will be assigned to a Case Manager. This will usually be the first person you contact with questions about services.

Age Who Handles Services
Birth to age 3 Jefferson County Developmental Disabilities Program administers services
Age 4 to 21 Services are provided through DDA and the school district
Age 21 and over Adult day services (employment or community access) are administered by the Jefferson County Developmental Disabilities Program; adult residential services are administered by DDA; and other employment services are provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) through separate application
Family support Services are administered by DDA for respite/Medicaid Personal Care

Government Offices

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