Welcome to the Arizona Department of Economic Security Division of Developmental Disabilities


DES provides supports and services to over 32,000 people with developmental disabilities and their families throughout Arizona. The following is a brief introduction to these services, along with a summary of some of our recent accomplishments.

DES strives to support the choices of individuals with disabilities and their families by promoting and providing within communities, flexible, quality, consumer-driven services and supports.  We value our community connections and emphasis on looking at a person’s strengths and gifts.

Services to children and adults with developmental disabilities are delivered in the family or person’s own home.  Services are provided based on each person’s identified needs, state and/or federal guidelines and, when applicable, the availability of funds. Services are authorized and monitored by a support coordinator (case manager).  The support coordinator promotes access to community resources and flexibility in meeting the person’s needs.   While some services are delivered directly by the State, most services are delivered through a large network of individual and agency contracted providers.

Services are provided throughout the lifespan of an eligible consumer.  For young children, the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities works in partnership with the DES Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP), and community agencies to provide early intervention services for children ages birth to three who have special needs and their families. Early intervention services help young children grow and develop and support their families as well. 

During the school years, services for children and young adults may include specific skills training, behavioral health services coordinated with the Division of Behavioral Health Services External Link Icon at DHS, assistance with personal care, assistance with transition from school to work or respite (caregiver relief).  For adult consumers, supports may include training to get and keep a job, structured day time activities, in home assistance with personal care and other skills training.

Out of home placements also are available for children and adults for whom living with family or independently is not an option.  Acute care health plans are provided to consumers that also qualify for Arizona Long Term Care.

  • DES continues to be a leader in the country for providing services to consumers and families in their home and communities. About 88% of the 32,000 individuals enrolled in the DES Developmental Disabilities program live in their own homes and communities rather than in congregate settings.
  • Through the Division of Developmental Disabilities, DES implements one of the largest fiscal intermediary /independent provider programs for people with disabilities in the country.  The program provides an avenue for consumers to hire their choice of independent providers for home and community based services and supports nearly 2,000 consumers and over 1,700 independent providers.
  • Self advocates with disabilities made Arizona one of the first states in the nation to discontinue use of the term “mental retardation” by promoting legislation that replaced the term with “cognitive disability” in state statutes related to individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • DES believes in connecting with community partners. We support Human Rights Committees, family groups throughout the state, a self determination council and always looks for ways to include families, people with disabilities, providers and other community stakeholders as integral members and contributors to improve services and supports.

Thank you for visiting the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities’ Web site.  We hope that the information provided here will be helpful to you. We encourage your feedback. We look forward to continued partnership with people with disabilities, families, advocates, providers and other community partners.

Need help? Contact us online or give us a call at (602) 542-0419 or toll free at (866) 229-5553.


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