The Center was founded in 1985 and originally located on the University's campus in Storrs, Connecticut. In 2001, the Center moved to its current location in Farmington, Connecticut on the University's Health Center campus. Since 1985, the Center has had seven directors or acting directors (Powell, Greenspan, Karan, Archambault, Mclean, Roberts, and Bruder [current]).
The Center has become a leader in developing and supporting quality services and systems for individuals with, or at risk for, developmental disabilities and their family. In the past twenty-five years, we have played key roles in major disability initiatives. Through services, research and training, we have assisted in the advancement of early intervention, health care, community-based services, inclusive and meaningful education, child care, transition from school to work, employment, recreation and quality assurance, housing, assistive technology, transportation, and/or family support.
The Center is the State of Connecticut's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD).
The national networks of UCEDDs were first authorized in Title 1, Part B of Public Law 88-164. This Act was signed into law on October 31, 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. The signing represented the initial legislation intent to implement the recommendations of the President's Panel on Mental Retardation. Prior to signing this act, Kennedy created a President's Panel on Mental Retardation which created a report that was among the most comprehensive, multifaceted, and well researched document in the disability field. The concept of UCEDDs came from the recommendations addressed in the report. The idea of support from higher education was stimulated by the possibility of federal funds from campus facilities to conduct research and provide training and clinical services.
The UCEDD program is authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act of 2000) (42 U.S.C. 15001, et seq.). The purpose of the DD Act of 2000 is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in all facets of community life, through culturally competent programs [Section 101(b)].
To achieve this purpose, the DD Act authorizes funding for UCEDDs. The DD Act defines UCEDDs as interdisciplinary education, research and public service units of universities, or public or not-for-profit entities associated with universities that implement the four core functions addressing, directly or indirectly, one or more of the 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) [Section 153(a)(1)].