The Arc of DFW Area home

Support Programs Resources

When you have a child with a disability, finding help can be confusing and time consuming. To make the search a little easier, we’ve put together this list of state agencies and government funded resources and services.

Government Funded Resources

Disability Rights Texas – DRTx

DRTx is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for persons with disabilities in Texas. DRTx advocates for and helps protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to have full and equal participation in society.

Education Services Centers – ESCs

ESCs provide for the joint training of parents, education professionals, and others who express an interest. Contact the ESC in your region. Certain ESCs have special functions (see below).

Partner’s Resource Network – PRN

PRN operates the Texas statewide network of Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers. The PATH Project serves families living in ESC Regions 5-13.

Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities – TCDD

TCDD helps people with developmental disabilities achieve their potential for independence, productivity and integration into their communities by working to develop a comprehensive system of service and supports in Texas.

University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities – UCEDD

UCEDDs work to create a better world through research, education, practice, and policy. There are two UCEDDs in Texas (see below).

Government Funded Services

Children with Special Health Care Needs – CSHCN

CSHCN is a service provided for children under 21 with special health care needs and individuals of any age with cystic fibrosis.

Child Care Services Program

TWC’s Child Care Services Program subsidizes child care for low-income families enabling parents to work or attend workforce training or education activities.

Community First Choice – CFC

CFC provides certain services and supports to individuals living in the community who are enrolled in the Medicaid program and meet CFC eligibility requirements.

Early Childhood Intervention Services – ECI

ECI serves children from birth to 36 months with a developmental delay or disability.

Deaf and hard of Hearing Services – DHHS

DHHS help eliminate societal and communication barriers to improve equal access for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

General Revenue – GR

*aka IDD Community Services

GR services, provided by or through the Local IDD Authority (LIDDA), are primarily intended to help people remain in their own or family’s home. Services may vary by location.

Health Insurance Premium Payment – HIPP Program

HIPP is the Texas Medicaid program that helps families pay for employer-sponsored health insurance premiums. It is for families with at least 1 person who gets Medicaid.

Independent Living Services – ILS

Independent living (IL) services help persons with disabilities, including vision-related disabilities achieve greater independence in the home and community.

Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities or Related Conditions – ICF/IID

*institution-based model of care

The ICF/IID program provides residential and habilitation services to persons with intellectual disabilities or a related condition. There are two types of ICF/IIDs in Texas: Community ICF/IID (up to 6 residents, few are larger) and State Supported Living Centers (60-460 residents).


Lifeline is the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) program to help make communications services more affordable for eligible consumers.

Medicaid & the Children’s Health Insurance Program – CHIP

Medicaid and the CHIP help you cover medical expenses for children and persons with disabilities who meet income requirements.

Medicaid Buy-In

The program offers low-cost Medicaid health care services — including community-based services and supports – to individuals with disabilities who work. Some people in the program might have to pay a monthly fee.


Medicare is the federal health insurance program for: people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities & people with end-state renal disease.

Mental Health Services: Adults

Texas HHS contracts with 37 local mental health authorities (MHA) and two local behavioral health authorities (BHA) to deliver adult mental health services in communities across TX.

Mental Health Services: Children & Adolescents

Children’s Mental Health serves children 3 to 17 with a mental health diagnosis who:

National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass

The Access Pass if a free, lifetime pass – available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability) – that provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies.

Navigate Life Texas

This website is especially for families and parents of children with disabilities or special health-care needs and is designed to offer support, inspiration, resources, and links to services available.

Non-educational Community-Based Support Services

Non-educational community-based support services are designed to help families of certain students with disabilities care for their children and help them better cope with having an individual with a disability at home.

Parent Companion

This website is designed help you connect with other parents who know what you are going through, as well as help you find the support and services you need to improve the quality of life for your child and your family.

Project Access Housing Project

Rental assistance for qualifying persons with disabilities transitioning from institutions into the community.

Section 8 – Housing Choice Voucher Program

Rental assistance to low income individuals and families, including seniors and persons with disabilities.

Social Security Disability Insurance – SSDI

SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program – STAP

STAP helps individuals who have a disability that interferes with their access to telephone networks purchase basic specialized assistive equipment or services.

Special Education Information Center – SpedTex

SPEDTex delivers accurate and timely answers to questions about special education by phone, email or live chat.


STAR+PLUS is a Texas Medicaid managed care program for people who have disabilities or are age 65 or older. Individuals in STAR+PLUS get Medicaid health-care and long-term services and support through a medical plan that they choose.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP

SNAP offers nutrition assistance to low income individuals and families.

Supplemental Security Income – SSI

SSI pays benefits to qualified individuals who have a disability based on financial need.

Targeted HCS SSLC Diversion Vacancy

A Targeted HCS SSLC diversion vacancy may be made available to a qualified individual with an intellectual disability who is determined to be at imminent risk of admission to an SSLC. View the HCS SSLC diversion vacancy protocol here. Contact your LIDDA to request an HCS SSLC diversion vacancy.

Texas Long-term Services and Support Wavier Programs: Medicaid Long-term Services and Supports Programs – LTSS

*Contact your LIDDA to place your child on the HCS, MDCP, STAR+PLUS HCBS or TXHmL interest list.

*Call 1-877-438-5658 to place your child on the CLASS or DBMD interest list.

LTSS programs assist individuals of all ages to live in the community instead of an institution.

Texas Long-term Services and Supports Waiver Programs

Most LTSS programs have an interest list because of funding limitations. The wait time can be as long as 17-18 years for services.

While we don’t want to tell you what to do, we strongly encourage you to place your child on the interest list sooner than later.

Texas Medicaid State Plan Services and Supports: Medicaid Long-term Services and Supports Programs – LTSS

LTSS programs assist individuals of all ages to live in the community instead of an institution.

Texas Medicaid State Plan Services and Supports

Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Waiver

The YES waiver provides comprehensive home and community-based mental health services to youth between the ages of 3 and 18, up to a month before a youth’s 19th birthday, who have a serious emotional disturbance.

The maze of multiple intake systems and eligibility processes can be as confusing and time consuming as locating the help you need. Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) help cut through the maze. ADRCs serve as a key point of access to person centered LTSS specialized information, referral and assistance and provide one-stop access to information for people who need help finding long-term care services. Locate the ADRC near you.

State Agencies

Texas Education Agency – TEA

TEA is the state agency that oversees public education in Texas. While not directly providing special education services, TEA has the responsibility of managing them.

Texas Department of State Health Services – DSHS

DSHS provides state-operated health care services. Mental Health Services and the CSHCN program are 2 specific to individuals with disabilities.

Texas Health & Human Services Commission – HHSC

HHSC offers programs that help with food, health care, safety and disaster.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – TDHCA

TDHCA provides housing and community development opportunities for low income individuals, nonprofit organizations and private companies, contractors, banking institutions, rural communities, local governments and investors.

Texas Workforce Commission – TWC

TWC is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas.