Self-Determination Services (SDS) Overview
In October of 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., signed into law, Senate Bill 468, establishing the Self-Determination Program. The Self-Determination program will provide children and adults served by the regional center, and their families more freedom, control, and responsibility in choosing services and supports to help them meet the goals in their Individual Program Plan (IPP).
When will the Self-Determination program be available?
California’s Department of Developmental Services submitted the required application to the Center of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by December 31, 2014. However, due to a number of questions from CMS, the application will need to be re-submitted. When that happens, the 90-day time line begins again.
Who can get services and supports through the Self-Determination program?
To be eligible to receive services and supports through the Self-Determination program, you must be receiving or eligible to receive services from a regional center and must be at least three years old to enroll in the program.
Once the application is approved, the Department of Developmental Services will select the 114 individuals from Tri-Counties Regional Center (TCRC) to participate. This includes 16 individuals who are currently participating in TCRC’s Self-Determination pilot project, plus an additional 98 individuals served by TCRC. Recent legislation may increase our numbers to include those coming from the developmental centers.
Individuals, who are interested in Self-Determination, will be required to attend an informational meeting about the program. At this meeting, people will learn about the opportunities and the increased responsibilities involved in accepting more control over coordinating their services. Understanding this information will help people decide if the Self-Determination Program is a good option for them.
If after the meeting, a person decides they would like to participate, TCRC will submit their name to DDS. Then, DDS will randomly select the initial participants from that list; taking into consideration the ethnicity, age, gender and the type of developmental disability of the person served.
For the second phase of the program, there will be no limits on how many people can participate in the program and anyone who receives regional center services can request to be part of the program.
What services are included in the Self-Determination Program?
In the Self-Determination Program, planning teams will use a person-centered planning process to develop all Individual Program Plans (IPPs). Persons served, and those who support them, will see many changes in the choice of services and supports available to them. For example, a person served may be able to receive services that regional centers are not allowed to pay for because of past changes to state law; services like camping, certain types of therapies, and behavior services.
Regular regional center services such as supported living services, independent living services and day program services will still be available and can be purchased through the Self-Determination program. Also, there may be new and different services available through local businesses or community agencies that can be purchased through the Self-Determination program.
How will the IPP process be different under the Self-Determination Program?
Self-Determination program participants will have the opportunity to be more active in creating IPPs and taking on more responsibility in the decision-making process for selecting services and supports. Participants will receive information and training from regional center staff about managing services and supports and hiring staff and agencies. Participants in the program have the option of using an “Independent Facilitator” who can help in planning their services and supports and other tasks related to managing their IPP.
How will budgets be determined under the Self-Determination Program?
Each participant will receive a budget based on the amount of money the regional center spent on services and supports for them from the year before. The budget amount can be changed by the IPP planning team if the participant has some sort of a change in circumstances, needs or resources.
For those who are new to the regional center system, or who have not had a year of regional center services, the planning team will determine the services and supports needed. Using this information, the regional center will put together a budget based on the average cost of similar services.
What is a Fiscal Management Service and what does it have to do with the Self-Determination program?
A Fiscal Management Service (FMS) is a service that helps a participant to manage their budgets under the Self-Determination program. The FMS representative will help the participant make sure that they have enough money to last throughout the year.
The FMS is a required part of the Self-Determination program by California law. The FMS representative must be part of an agency that contracts with the regional center for services. The FMS representative cannot be a parent or family member of the participant on the Self-Determination program.
Self-Determination Advisory Committee
TCRC, in conjunction with the Central Coast Office of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities have been working together on a variety of activities in preparation for the Self-Determination Program. Our first order of business was to select the members of the Self-Determination Advisory Committee.
We were fortunate that we received a large number of applicants from our community. TCRC worked with the Central Coast office of the State Council, to identify candidates who are individuals receiving services from the regional center as well as family members. In addition, the committee reflects the multicultural diversity of those we serve. We are thrilled to have such a talented group who will guide us as we move forward with the implementation of the Self-Determination Program.
The first Self-Determination Advisory Committee meeting was held on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The committee learned about the Self-Determination Program as well as person-centered planning. They also received updates on the status of the waiver application to CMS.
The Self-Determination Advisory Committee will meet quarterly and the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at the TCRC office in Santa Barbara.
At this time, we do not know when the Self-Determination program will begin. And what the final rules about the program will be.
However, as we wait for more information about the Self-Determination program, TCRC is involved with the Self-Determination Committee through the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) to provide information and suggestions to the Department of Developmental Services about the program.
Thank you for your interest in the Self-Determination program and please check the Self-Determination page on the DDS website at: www.dds.ca.gov/sdp/SDPUpdates.cfm for the most recent updates.
For more information, click on the links below:
Department of Developmental Disabilities Services: www.dds.ca.gov/sdp/SDPFAQ.cfm
Disability Rights California: http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/F07701.pdf
Autism Society Los Angeles County: http://autismla.org/resources/Fact_Sheet_for_Consumers_and_Families.pdf