Mission and Purpose

Learn about why TCDD exists and what we do.


TCDD Mission Statement

Our mission is to create change so that all people with 
disabilities are fully included in their communities and
exercise control over their own lives.

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) helps people with developmental disabilities (DD) achieve their potential for independence, productivity, and integration into their communities through the development of a comprehensive system of services and supports.

Guiding Principles

All Council activities align with our mission and demonstrate:

  • commitment to self-determination for people with disabilities and their families;
  • effort to ensure that people from diverse cultures and disabilities are represented in all activities;
  • best practices in the development and provision of services and supports, including an emphasis on measurable goals; and
  • collaboration between the Council, grantees, advocacy organizations, and other groups including non-traditional partners in activities that are consistent with our mission.


TCDD is one of 56 state councils on developmental disabilities in the U.S. and its territories created through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). Learn more about state councils on developmental disabilities (PDF, 2 pages, 632KB).

The Texas Legislature, through the State of Texas Human Resources Code, states that people with DD have a right to appropriate treatment, services, and habilitation for their disabilities. The code also states that the treatment, services, and habilitation for people with DD must be designed to maximize a person’s developmental potential and must be provided in the setting that is least restrictive to personal liberty.


To achieve the vision of the DD Act, state DD Councils use federal funding to create partnerships, collaborations, innovative programs, and equal opportunities to improve the daily lives of people with DD. They spark community change by bringing together people and partners to create equity in education, health, employment, and life. They empower self-advocates and family leaders, influence law and policy, and educate and protect people with DD. And they educate decision-makers using research and lived experiences to improve the lives of people with DD.
Image by the Administration for Community Living

Council Members

TCDD is governed by a 27-member board that consists of:

  • people with DD
  • parents, guardians, and family members of people with DD
  • representatives from state agencies that provide DD services and support
  • representatives from the university centers for excellence in developmental disabilities: the Texas Center for Disability Studies at The University of Texas at Austin and the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University
  • a representative from Disability Rights Texas, the state’s protection and advocacy system
  • a member representing local, non-government organizations

The Texas governor appoints Council members in accordance with the DD Act. Governor-appointed members serve six-year staggered terms and may serve no more than two consecutive six-year terms. The governor also designates a member of the Council to serve as chair. 

By federal law, at least 60% of Council members must be people with DD, their parents or guardians, or other immediate relatives. Also, at least one Council member must be someone who has lived in an institutional facility or a family member of a person who has lived in an institutional facility.

Council members serve without salary. As allowed by the Texas Legislature, members can be reimbursed for expenses from approved activities.

Council Responsibilities

The Council engages in advocacy and planning activities; supports model projects that serve as prototypes for future programs around Texas; fosters public awareness and community acceptance through education; and seeks community involvement in TCDD activities.

As a governing board, the Council has the authority to select the TCDD executive director and approve grant projects and activities in Texas supported by federal funds. Council members also approve TCDD’s annual budget, five-year strategic state plan, and public policy priorities.

Council members attend and actively participate in quarterly Council Meetings, represent issues in the lives of Texans with DD, and represent TCDD Positions.

In addition to serving on the full Council, members serve on either of the following committees:

  • Project Development Committee: oversees planning and funding activities; develops and monitors the state plan; recommends new funding activities; and reviews grantee activities and accomplishments.
  • Public Policy Committee: coordinates public policy advocacy and public information activities; develops public policy position statements; and identifies key health and human services policy issues and recommends activities.

Additionally, members can serve on the following committees:

  • Executive Committee: supervises and evaluates the TCDD executive director; develops and monitors policies and procedures; approves grant awards and monitors the grant-awarding process; and acts on behalf of the full Council for emergency matters.
  • Nominating Committee: presents nominations for the Council vice-chair and consumer delegate-at-large to the Executive Committee.
  • Audit Committee: recommends an internal audit charter and annual audit plan; reviews internal audit reports and monitors corrective actions; and recommends special audits.

Council members may also serve on special Council committees or taskforces to provide information to the Texas Legislature and public agencies or during public forums. Council members may also represent the Council at other meetings or conferences relevant to people with DD. 

For more information, review the full TCDD Council Policies (PDF, 20 pages, 179KB).



Each year, TCDD awards nearly 70% of federal funds it receives to statewide and regional projects that address a variety of issues for people with DD, including:

  • employment
  • education
  • positive behavioral intervention and support
  • family support
  • transportation
  • health care
  • self-determination
  • accessible housing
  • leadership and advocacy training 
Little girl with special needs enjoy spending time with mother in nature

Audit Report

TCDD provides annual internal audit reports in accordance with Texas law. Download the latest audit report (PDF, 6 pages, 276 KB). Audit reports from previous years can be requested by email.

State Agency Designation

The DD Act allows each state to designate a state agency to provide administrative support to the state developmental disabilities council. In Texas, state law delegates that administrative support designation to the governor. In 2004, the Texas Education Agency was selected as the designated state agency to provide administrative support to TCDD, including:
  • fiscal and accounting services,
  • human resource services, and
  • other administrative supports as requested by the Council.
To learn more, see Governor Designates TEA to Provide Administrative Support.
Happy Family at a park

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