In 1970, Congress passed the Developmental Disabilities Act, which among other things established Councils in each state and trust territory to help plan services and to advocate for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities and their families. The Governor appoints the Council membership not to exceed 29 members. The majority of members are people with developmental disabilities and family members. Others represent state agencies, state legislators and groups that work on behalf of people with disabilities. The Council is made up of Montanans both with and without developmental disabilities, who believe in improving the lives of Montana’s citizens who have a disability.

We concentrate on issues related to self-determination, education, employment, transportation, housing, recreation, health care, community inclusion and the overall quality of life of people with developmental disabilities. As a Council we are committed to both question, and action as we work to discover and promote creative ways that families, service agencies and federal, state, local and tribal governments can help people with disabilities to live more independent, fulfilling lives.


In true pioneer spirit, the Montana Council on Developmental Disabilities pursued and achieved an incredible milestone. Housed in state government since 1971, in 2003 the Montana Council on Developmental Disabilities left state government and became the first documented nonprofit, 501 (C) 3, Council in the country.
No easy feat this action required changes in state statutes and federal approval. However the Council continues to reap the benefits of this move by performing its work as an agent for systems change, capacity building and advocacy. The Council operates in a policy governance model.

Our mandate and work remain as identified in PL106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. We work in collaboration with our sister agencies, state agencies, other nonprofit corporations and local, state and tribal governments concerned with the well being of Montana’s citizens with developmental disabilities.