I/DD Service Glossary

Services and resources are available to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a variety of offices and avenues, but with many names and acronyms, it can be confusing! Here is a glossary guide to some common abbreviations you may hear when looking for services.



Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

DSHS is the agency that administers programs designed to assist individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to receive services and support.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

DVR is a statewide resource under the DSHS that provides programs and support to individuals with disabilities with employment. They help prepare for, secure, maintain, advance in, or regain meaningful employment.

Developmental Disabilities Administration

DDA is a statewide resource under DSHS that offers various services including but not limited to employment services, respite services, housing assistance, and more. Families and individuals can apply for DDA services starting at birth.

Aging and Long-Term Support Administration

ALTSA manages programs designed to support seniors and people with disabilities to live in good health and independence and control decisions that affect their lives. ALTSA is an administration of the DSHS.

Adult Protective Services

APS investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Home and Community Services

HCS provides and administers long-term care services to eligible individuals. HCS is a part of the DSHS’ ALTSA.

Residential Care Services

RCS provides licensing, and certifications, and regulates long-term care facilities.

Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing

ODHH offers programs and services for individuals who are deaf, Deaf/Blind, Deaf disabled, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, Speech Disabled individuals, their families, and service providers. ODHH is a part of the DSHS’ ALTSA.

Social Security Administration

SSA oversees the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security income.

Consumer Direct Care Network Washington

CDWA is the Consumer Directed Employer for DSHS. CDWA employs individual providers who provide in-home personal care and respite services. This is where people apply to be an individual provider.

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