The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has a long history in the State of Connecticut. As early as 1917, services for individuals with intellectual disability were largely provided at the Mansfield Training School until 1940 when the Southbury Training School was opened. Eventually these facilities, along with “Regional Centers” established in the 1960’s, were overseen by the Office of Mental Retardation, a division of the State Department of Health.
In 1975 the Connecticut General Assembly established an independent Department of Mental Retardation (P.A. No. 75-638). The department has been a department in the executive branch, headed by a Commissioner appointed by the Governor, since that time. Although DDS continues to directly operate both congregate and community-based services and supports, the department's focus has largely become community-based relying upon a public/private partnership.
The result is a statewide system which provides support and services to persons with intellectual disability who reside in family homes, independently, in state-operated facilities, in licensed "community training homes" and in over 830 licensed/certified "community living arrangements." Since 1987, most services and supports provided by DDS have been subject to federal reimbursement under Home and Community Based Waivers (Medicaid) which are approved by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).
In 2007, the department changed its name from the Department of Mental Retardation to the Department of Developmental Services. This change reflects the mission and commitment of the department to serve individuals eligible for services with the utmost respect and dignity.