Developmental Services

The mission of the Division of Developmental Services is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities have access to quality supports and services when and where they need them.

We strive to do this through implementing the following values:

  • Collaboration – demonstrating partnership by working together with all internal and external stakeholders
  • Consistency – providing the same answer every time, regardless of who answers the question
  • Creativity – being responsive, flexible, and always working to get to yes
  • Conviction – being steadfast, mission driven, passionate
  • Communication – being transparent, consistent, thinking things through, and using plain language
  • Celebration – being committed to recognizing and acknowledging contributions toward the implementation of the mission

DDS Organizational Chart

DDS Leadership Contacts

  • DDS Assistant Commissioner: Heather Norton, 804-786-5850,
  • Provider Network Supports Director: Eric Williams, 434-907-0072,
    • System Team Lead: Kim Snider, 804-536-9514,
    • Providers Team Lead: Amy Braswell, 804-972-2961,
    • Individuals Team Lead: Ronnitta Clements, 804-382-2490,
  • Waiver Systems Director: Nicole DeStefano, 804-971-6383,
    • Waiver Operations Manager: Sam Pinero, 804-786-2149,
    • Regional Supports Manager: Ken Haines, 804-337-5709,
    • SIS Quality Manager: Maureen Kennedy, 804-317-1652,
    • Community Programs Manager/Customized Rates: Carrie Ottoson, 804-731-4111,
  • Integrated Health Supports Network Director: Susan Moon, 804-629-8288,
    • Dental Team Lead: Casey Tupea, 804-347-2039,
    • Registered Nurse Care Consultant Team Lead: Tammie Williams, 804-347-2919,
    • Mobile Rehab Engineering Team Lead: Mike Preston, 804-418-0555,
  • Community Network Supports Director: Deanna Parker, 804-774-2278,
    • IFSP Program Manager: Heather Hines,
    • Supported Decision Making Lead: Sara Thompson,
  • Transition Network Supports Director: Martin Kurylowski,
    • Intermediate Care Facilities/IID Manager: Benita Holland, 804-201-3833,
    • PASRR & OBRA Team Lead: Lisa Rogers, 804-347-5260,
  • Project Management and Behavioral Services: Nathan Habel, 804-495-5273 

In the Commonwealth, “developmental disabilities” is defined as:

“a severe, chronic disability of an individual that

  • is attributable to a mental or physical impairment, or a combination of mental and physical impairments, other than a sole diagnosis of mental illness;
  • is manifested before the individual reaches 22 years of age;
  • is likely to continue indefinitely;
  • results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, or economic self-sufficiency; and
  • reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

An individual from birth to age nine, inclusive, who has a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting three or more of the criteria described in clauses (i) through (v) if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.” [Code of VA § 37.2-100]

The Commonwealth’s system of services and supports for individuals with a developmental disability supports individuals from birth through adulthood.  Individuals are supported based upon their specific, individual needs, and age-related developmental concerns.  The majority of DD services are accessed at the local level with oversight by DBHDS.  To help you determine where to go to locate needed services, please access your local Community Services Board/Behavioral Health Authority.

Developmental Services Resources at a Glance – 8/30/23

Birth to Age 3: Early Intervention Services/Part C:

The Part C Early Intervention Program includes services and supports to infants and toddlers from birth through age two who are not developing as expected or who have a medical condition that can delay normal development.  Early intervention supports and services focus on increasing the child’s participation in family and community activities that are important to the family.  In addition, supports and services focus on helping parents and other caregivers know how to find ways to help the child learn during everyday activities.  These supports and services are available for all eligible children and their families regardless of the family’s ability to pay.  Services include the Office of Special Education Programs and Part C Early Intervention Programs. DBHDS is the lead agency for Part C services in Virginia.  For more information, please see the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia and the Prenatal/Infancy section of the My Life My Community website.

DD Community Services for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities:

The Virginia Home and Community Based (HCBS) Developmental Disabilities Waivers fund services and supports which help an individual with a developmental disability live an independent life in the community.  These HCBS Waivers allow an individual to access individualized services and support options that provide for their medical, behavioral, and habilitation needs in the community vs. in an institution.  Virginia has offered Medicaid funded community-based supports to individuals with developmental disabilities since 1991. 

For more information on the DD Waivers, visit our Waiver Services page.

For information about DD services across the life stages, visit the life stage page at My Life My Community.

Additional Community Supports

There may be other community supports available to you.  Depending on your needs, there are other Medicaid Waivers available in addition to the DD Waivers, as well as other services.  Please visit the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) website for information about other waivers.  You also may be eligible for case management services through your local Community Services Board (CSB)  or Behavioral Health Authority (BHA) while you are on the DD Waivers waiting list. 

Crisis Supports

Individuals in the Commonwealth with a developmental disability have access to specialized crisis supports and services to address emergencies arising due to a mental health or behavioral health challenge.  The Commonwealth is committed to providing individuals, families, and providers with the resources to help individuals of all ages and types of disabilities receive help quickly and effectively using a person-centered support approach to respond to emergency and chronic needs at the local level, allowing individuals to remain in their homes in the community. 

Anyone experiencing a true medical emergency should always call 911.

For more information on Crisis Supports in Virginia, please visit our Office of Crisis Supports and Services page.

The Virginia Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP)

The Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) is designed to assist individuals on the waiting list for one of the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Medicaid waivers access short-term resources, supports, and services that will help them maintain an independent life in the community.  The program consists of four main components:

  • The IFSP Funding Program provides financial assistance to individuals and families awaiting services through one of Virginia’s Developmental Disabilities waivers. Individuals on the waiting list may apply for financial assistance to cover eligible costs that help them maintain living in an independent community setting. 
  • The IFSP Community Coordination Program supports the work of the State ISFP Council, the advisory group of state and community stakeholders that helps inform DBHDS policy addressing the support needs of individuals on the waiting list and the IFSP Regional Councils, local groups of individuals who are on the DD Waiver Waiting List, family members, caregivers, or providers, working at a grassroots level to increase supports in their communities.  The goal of the IFSP Coordination Program is to streamline state and community supports to better leverage limited public resources. 
  • The Family to Family mentoring program, through collaboration with the Center for Family Involvement and other partners, works with families to increase their skills as advocates, mentors, and leaders so that families, children and young adults with disabilities can lead the lives they want.
  • The Peer to Peer Mentoring program to connect individuals with DD to a peer mentor to help you achieve your goals.

For more information on any of these programs, please visit our IFSP page at the My Life My Community website.

Housing Resources for Individuals with a Developmental Disability

The Commonwealth of Virginia is committed to assisting individuals with a developmental disability obtain independent housing in the community.   The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Housing Team is comprised of Housing Specialists located in each region of the state whose goal is to assist individuals with DD in the settlement agreement population with acquiring their own home in the community with needed supports.   The Settlement Agreement target population for housing includes Virginians with a developmental disability who are at least 18 years of age or older and:

1)     Living in a training center, intermediate care facility, skilled nursing facility and are eligible for one of the DD Waivers;

2)     Currently receiving DD Waiver services; or

3)     On a waitlist for DD Waiver services. 

DD housing resources are available to individuals and family members, providers, and DD case managers/support coordinators.  For more information on available housing resources, please visit the DBHDS Path to Housing page. Additional information on independent housing is available on the My Life My Community page.

Virginia’s Employment First Initiative for Individuals with a Developmental Disability

Employment is a fundamental value and aspiration in American culture.  Individuals, including those with disabilities, gain many benefits from having a job, such as relationships with co-workers, fewer health issues, and an increased sense of well-being and accomplishment.   In an effort to better support people with disabilities through employment and expand access to integrated, community-based employment opportunities, Virginia’s Employment First Initiative requires that employment is offered to individuals receiving developmental disability services first, before offering other available day service options.  Employment is an essential benchmark for ensuring that people with disabilities reach their fullest potential.   

For more information on Employment for individuals with a developmental disability please visit our Employment First page.

Health Supports for Individuals with a Developmental Disability

The Health Support Network (HSN), housed within the Office of Integrated Health (OIH), is committed to ensuring that individuals with a developmental disability receive appropriate quality supports from qualified health providers that result in the delivery of barrier-free, community-integrated healthcare services.  The HSN provides person-centered services to former residents of Virginia’s Training Centers, large Intermediate Care Facilities, and Nursing Facilities with serious medical needs.  The HSN also serves as a resource for information related to health-related services for all individuals with DD in the state.  HSN programs include:

  • Fixed Rate Dental Program
  • Sedation Dental Program
  • Mobile Rehab Engineering (MRE) 
  • Community Nursing

For more information on Health Services for individuals with a developmental disability, please visit the Office of Integrated Health page.

Under the Waiver Services page, you will find information about policies, procedures, WSAC, the SIS®, Customized Rates, and information to support individuals currently on the DD waivers.

The Office of Integrated Health (OIH) was established by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to serve as a resource for information related to healthcare, wellness, healthcare providers, and health related services within the Commonwealth.  The OIH webpage provides safety alerts, newsletters, health support network and long term care information, and educational resources.

Information about therapeutic behavioral consultation through the FIS and CL waivers can be found on the Behavioral Services website.  Visit this webpage to learn more about this service, to search for providers, and to access resources, literature, and training videos.  

The Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) assists individuals with developmental disabilities and their families with accessing person-centered and family-centered resources, supports, services and other assistance. The program’s primary target population is individuals on the waiting list for Virginia’s Developmental Disabilities (DD) Medicaid waivers.  Additional resources can also be found on the My Life, My Community page.  

Supported decision-making is a way for people to get help with making decisions while keeping their rights and making the final decisions themselves. Supported Decision-Making Agreements are a way for adults with developmental disabilities living in Virginia to document when they want to receive support with making decisions, how they want to receive support, and who they want to help them. To learn more about supported decision-making and supported decision-making agreements, as well as to access forms to help create your own supported decision-making agreement, go to the Supported Decision-Making page.


The My Life, My Community page offers a searchable website where you can find information about waiver options, providers that can assist with service needs, connection to support networks, and other helpful resources.  

If you or someone that you know is interested in learning more about the resources available to help people in the Settlement Agreement Population access their own rental housing in the community, please visit the Housing page.

The DBHDS Office of Crisis Supports and Services provides oversight and technical assistance to the statewide crisis system of care.  On this page you can learn more about the REACH program for Virginians with developmental disabilities that have crisis needs, as well as access information on other crisis services and initiatives that are occurring as a part of Virginia’s crisis system transformation.  

On the Employment First page, you will find information about Virginia’s Employment First Initiative.

The Office of Provider Network Supports focuses on developing and sustaining a qualified community of providers in Virginia so that people who have developmental disabilities and their families have choice and access to options that meet their needs. On this page, you will find resources from Provider Development including information on becoming a provider, information about Virginia’s Person-Centered ISP, who to contact for technical assistance, and various training resources.

DBHDS implements quality service reviews (QSRs) through a contracted, certified Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) vendor.

QSRs include:

  • Person-centered reviews
  • Individual and family interviews and/ or surveys
  • Provider quality reviews
  • other DBHDS quality service reviews.

QSRs evaluate:

  • The quality of services at an individual, provider (i.e., Community Service Board and private providers), and system-wide level;
  • The extent to which services are provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to individuals’ needs and consistent with their informed choice;
  • The extent to which individuals’ needs are being identified and met through person-centered planning and thinking
  • The extent to which individuals are given opportunities for community integration in all aspects of their lives.

Additionally, QSRs assess the quality and adequacy of providers’ services, quality improvement and risk management strategies, and provide recommendations to providers for improvement. 

Data collected from these reviews is used to improve individual, provider, and system practice and service quality. DBHDS and its licensed providers further use the data in making improvements in the service experience, in determining how to improve the array of services provided, and in identifying and implementing quality improvement initiatives.

QSR Documents

For current QSR related documents, please visit:   

For assistance in accessing the HSAG SharePoint site, please contact

QSR Reports

Need additional information on QSRs or have questions? Contact the QSR Coordinator:

At the DOJ Settlement Agreement page, you can locate the Final Order and Settlement Agreement, the Complete Set of Agreed Upon Compliance Indicators, Stakeholder Group information, reports from the Independent Reviewer, Annual Reporting, and Settlement Agreement Indicator Overview Videos.