DMR Changes Name October 1st
The Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) officially changes its name to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) on October 1, 2007. This momentous occasion comes after Governor M. Jodi Rell signed into law P.A. 07-73 H. B. 7007, a bill passed unanimously by both the State Senate and House of Representatives during the 2007 Legislative Session.
Over the years, consumers, families, employees and private providers advocated for a change to the department’s name. In 2006, the General Assembly passed a bill requiring the department to solicit input and recommend a name change to the Governor in January 2007. After the year long process, Commissioner Peter H. O’Meara recommended changing the name to the Department of Developmental Services.
The new name is a reflection of the services that the department provides. Along with the with the Birth to Three Program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays, the General Assembly recently passed a bill establishing a Division of Autism within DDS. Even though the agency has a new name, the eligibility criteria will remain the same.
According to Commissioner O’Meara, “October 1, 2007 marks a new beginning as we bid farewell to our old name and become the Department of Developmental Services. Not only is our new name more respectful and reflective of the positive cultural changes in the disability community, it signals a more progressive and inclusive approach to services and supports for individuals and families we support. The initiation of an Autism Division is another significant milestone in the history of the department. Over the course of the coming year, this will yield untold benefits and opportunities for our citizens. Join with me in embracing the new changes and welcoming the opportunities they present for our future, while valuing our past proud traditions of services. And, please applaud those advocates who made it happen.”