Entities eligible to apply for funds under this funding opportunity announcement are the grantees which were awarded in FY 2014.
As defined in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, the term "developmental disabilities" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments that are manifested before the individual attains age 22 and are likely to continue indefinitely. Developmental disabilities result in substantial limitations in three or more of the following functional areas: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living and economic self-sufficiency.
The DD Act of 2000 identifies a number of significant findings, including:
Disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to enjoy the opportunity for independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community.
Individuals whose disabilities occur during their developmental period frequently have severe disabilities that are likely to continue indefinitely.
Individuals with developmental disabilities often require lifelong specialized services and assistance, provided in a coordinated and culturally competent manner by many agencies, professionals, advocates, community representatives and others to eliminate barriers and to meet the needs of such individuals and their families.
The DD Act of 2000 promotes the best practices and policies presented below:
Individuals with developmental disabilities, including those with the most severe developmental disabilities, are capable of achieving independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community, and often require the provision of services, supports and other assistance to achieve such.
Individuals with developmental disabilities have competencies, capabilities and personal goals that should be recognized, supported and encouraged, and any assistance to such individuals should be provided in an individualized manner, consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities and capabilities of the individual.
Individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are the primary decision makers regarding the services and supports such individuals and their families receive and play decision making roles in policies and programs that affect the lives of such individuals and their families.
Toward these ends, AIDD seeks to support and accomplish the following:
Increasing ability of individuals with developmental disabilities to exercise greater choice and self-determination and to engage in leadership activities in their communities;
Enhancing the capabilities of families in assisting individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their maximum potential;
Promoting systemic change activities that ensure the active and meaningful engagement and participation of individuals with developmental disabilities in community-based programs and services;
Promoting the active involvement of individuals with developmental disabilities and families in all aspects of grantee programs, activities and services;
Ensuring the protection of the legal and human rights of individuals with developmental disabilities;
Ensuring that individuals with developmental disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families enjoy increased and meaningful opportunities to access and use community services, individualized supports and other forms of assistance available to other individuals with developmental disabilities and their families; and
Promoting recruitment efforts that increase the number of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who work with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in disciplines related to pre-service training, community training, practice, administration and policymaking.
According to Section 153 (a)(1) of the DD Act of 2000, UCEDDs are funded to provide leadership in, advise federal, state, and community policymakers about, and promote opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to exercise self-determination, be independent, be productive, and be integrated and included in all facets of community life. UCEDDs are defined as interdisciplinary education, research, and public service units of universities or public or non-profit entities associated with universities that engage in four core functions, addressing, directly or indirectly, one or more of the areas of emphasis.
The following is a description of the four core functions:
1. Provision of interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education of students and fellows, which may include the preparation and continuing education of leadership, direct service, clinical or other personnel to strengthen and increase the capacity of States and communities to achieve the purpose of the DD Act of 2000.
2. Provision of community services that provide training and/or technical assistance for individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, professionals, paraprofessionals, policy makers, students and other members of the community; and may provide services, supports and assistance for individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, professionals, paraprofessionals, policy makers, students and other members of the community through demonstration and model activities.
3. Conduct of research, which may include basic or applied research, evaluation, and the analysis of public policy in areas that affect or could affect, either positively or negatively, individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
4. Dissemination of information related to activities undertaken to address the purpose of the DD Act of 2000, especially dissemination of information that demonstrates that the national network of UCEDDs is a national and international resource that includes specific substantive areas of expertise that may be accessed and applied in diverse settings and circumstances.
According to Section 152 of the DD Act of 2000, grants must be made to each UCEDD that existed in the preceding Fiscal Year that meets the requirements of subtitle D. Funds are used to pay for the federal share of the cost of the administration and operation of the UCEDD. The DD Act of2000 defines a State as the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Currently, there are 67 grants that fund UCEDDs in every State and Territory.
National Network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service
The National Network of UCEDDs comprise 67 grants that establish Centers which are interdisciplinary education, research, and public service units of universities or public or not-for-profit entities associated with universities that engage in four core functions: interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education; community services (including training and/or technical assistance and/or services, supports and assistance); research; and dissemination of information and address, directly or indirectly, one or more areas of emphasis (e.g., quality assurance, education and early intervention, child care, health, employment, housing, transportation, recreation, and other services available or offered to individuals in a community, including formal and informal community supports, that affect their quality of life). As liaisons to service delivery systems, UCEDDs serve to positively affect the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and work toward increasing their independence, productivity, inclusion and integration into communities. UCEDD accomplishments include:
1. Directing exemplary interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education. The provision of formal training is offered in an interdisciplinary format where faculty and trainees represent a variety of disciplines, such as pediatrics, education, psychology and nursing, thereby expanding opportunities for students to learn about the differing perspectives of various professionals who are providing services to, and working on behalf of, individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
2. Providing community services. Staff offer expertise and inform the field through training, technical assistance and demonstration, model activities to individuals with developmental disabilities, families, support service organizations, professionals, paraprofessionals, students, systems, volunteers and others.
3. Research. UCEDDs contribute to the development of new knowledge through various research activities that may include the field testing of models of service delivery and evaluation of existing innovative practices.
4. Information dissemination. UCEDDs work to bridge the gap between research and practice by developing products and resources in a variety of formats that are then disseminated to the field.