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Who We Are and How We Began
Although the community knows the Board of DD best for adult activities centers and group homes, we offer a full range of services, everything from in-home early intervention programs for very young children and their families to leisure programs for seniors and specialized therapies (speech-language, occupational and physical), psychological services, support administration, family resources and respite care, supported living, vocational training, community employment, rehabilitation engineering and crisis intervention.
The Ohio General Assembly established boards of mental retardation (as they were then known) in all of Ohio's counties in 1967 as a result of the strong lobbying efforts of parents whose local school districts refused to enroll their children. It was not until 1975 that federal law mandated that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. (The legislature added 'developmental disabilities' to the name and responsibilities in the early 1980s, and in 2009 it removed the term 'mental retardation' from our name.)
Early on, services centered on school-age programs, but since then, services have expanded far beyond that. Today, enrollment among very young children and adults far surpasses the school enrollment, and our involvement with school-age children focuses on serving children in their local schools, not in schools that we operate.
A seven-member unpaid board oversees our overall operations. The Cuyahoga County Executive appoints five members; the presiding judge of Probate Court appoints two. At least three of the board members must be the parents or immediate family members of enrollees.
Funding for our operations comes from three sources, a countywide property tax and state and federal funds. The local tax, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of our primary support, is a 3.9-mill continuing levy that Cuyahoga County voters overwhelmingly approved with a 69 percent 'yes' vote in 2005.
Our mission is to support and empower people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work and play in the community.