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Mission Statement

The SCDDSN, as defined in the South Carolina Code of Law, serves persons with intellectual disabilities, autism, head and spinal cord injury and conditions related to each of these four disabilities.

Vision - Where We Are Going!

To provide the very best services to assist all persons with disabilities
and their families in South Carolina.

Mission - What We Do!

Assist people with disabilities and their families
through choice in meeting needs, pursuing possibilities and achieving life goals;
and minimize the occurrence and reduce the severity of disabilities through prevention.

Values - Our Guiding Beliefs!

Health, safety and well-being of each person
Dignity and respect for each person
Individual and family participation, choice, control and responsibility
Relationships with family, friends and community connections
Personal growth and accomplishments

Principles - Features Of Services And Supports

Person-centered and Community Inclusive
Responsive, efficient and accountable
Practical, positive and appropriate
Strengths-based, results-oriented
Opportunities to be productive and maximize potential
Best and promising practices

Adopted by the Commission 03/17/16


Strategic Planning

The department’s strategic planning sets the overall direction for the development of programs through a multi-year period for persons with autism, intellectual and related disabilities, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries in South Carolina. Planning is guided by direction from the Governor and the General Assembly, and by our customers’ needs and preferences and how they want to be served. It also reflects the department’s responsiveness to national trends, to advocates who promote state-of-the-art services, to service providers and to citizens who require sound stewardship of their tax dollars. This provides a framework to guide agency policy and actions in terms of how to organize, fund and evaluate outcomes of services.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are identified by senior staff through the director’s leadership and guidance. Input from DDSN’s regional centers and the local DSN boards and private qualified providers is integral to the process. Regular meetings are held with key regional center staff to remain informed of performance activities and needs at each center. These meetings provide input into various resource needs such as staffing, operating budget, permanent improvement needs and quality of consumer care. DDSN's statewide network of community providers gives input through several functional committees made up of leadership from the DSN boards, private providers and key DDSN staff. The committees provide input and direction on numerous items ranging from contractual compliance to quality of services. Each Center and board conducts a facility assessment which outlines renovations, construction, or change in use of specific buildings in order to provide adequate and appropriate facilities to meet individual needs in a high quality setting. To determine services needed over a multi-year period, a review is done of current programs and services, the number of individuals served, underserved and waiting for services, and the new resources needed to meet the need.

A Consumer, Family and Advocate Advisory Committee is heavily involved in discussions about service delivery and provides input and suggestions for improvement. This group is a representative sample of the service population and service need areas across the state.

Cross-functional committees which include stakeholders are utilized in the development of agency-wide plans and strategies. When changes are being proposed which impact the way services are provided or funded, taskforces or special stakeholder groups are utilized to ensure that all levels of the organization are represented.  A broad range of individuals serve on these taskforces in order to obtain a full understanding of the issues involved.

Specific financial risks, state and federal requirements and regulated initiatives are anticipated whenever possible and incorporated into planning. Workforce resources are directed to meet the priorities of the agency.  Information technology is maximized for data collection, process management and systems analysis.

The strategic planning process includes a multi-year analysis of operating budget needs and permanent improvement needs. These multi-year analyses encompass historical trends, regional center evaluations, key regional staff input, local community provider and consumer input.  Once the analysis is refined, the department prepares its annual budget request for the Governor and General Assembly that includes both recurring and non-recurring items. Capital needs are stated in the Comprehensive Permanent Improvement Plan (CPIP), which is submitted to the Joint Bond Review Committee and the Budget and Control Board.

The planning process used to carry out the agency’s mission is a continuous process. It is primarily concerned with developing organizational objectives, forecasting the environment in which objectives are to be accomplished and determining the best approach in which they are to be accomplished. Successful planning requires an analysis of data from the past, decisions in the present, and an evaluation of the future.


Key Strategic Goals

  1. Broaden the range and improve the quality of supports and services responsive to the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families utilizing cost-effective strategies.
    1. Redesign and expand the scope of services and supports to address the needs of eligible persons in crisis situations and on waiting lists.
    2. Promote and encourage choice of service providers and allow consumers to select services they need from qualified providers they refer within individually assessed resource limits.
    3. Provide information on service resources, requirements and options to individuals and families.
    4. Increase the proportion of community integrated options for persons in regional centers and in the community pursuant to the Olmstead U.S. Supreme Court decision.
    5. Maximize state and federal resources by using more efficient service models.
    6. Coordinate and partner with other agencies in areas of mutual interest to maximize resources and to avoid duplication.

  2. Maintain accountability to all citizens of South Carolina by strengthening quality of services.
    1. Continue implementation of a performance measurement system linked to customer satisfaction and achievement of consumer’s outcomes.
    2. Continue to track and analyze performance data and trends in support of quality improvement initiatives.
    3. Enhance quality assurance and quality improvement initiatives and maintain compliance with federal standards.
    4. Minimize the occurrence and reduce the severity of disabilities through primary and secondary prevention initiatives.


Key Strategic Challenges

  • Mission:
    • Meet Increased Levels of service demand
    • Expand and broaden resources and service choices
  • Operational:
    • Manage critical cases and reduce waiting lists
    • Improve quality
    • Implement external mandates in ways that minimize negative impact to services and costs
    • Incorporate and maximize new technologies in agency systems and processes
  • Human Resources:
    • Maintain key workforce capacity and retention
    • Meet the increased levels of service demands identified without compromising quality of care, while meeting budget limitations
    • Enhance workforce development and training
  • Financial:
    • Maximize all revenue sources and employ measures to control costs
    • Increase resources to meet increased service needs
    • Implement new federal and state Medicaid requirements
  • Community-related:
    • Meet increased consumer demands
    • Meet taxpayer expectations
    • Increase levels of acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities