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With the winter holidays approaching I’ve been reflecting on systems, particularly the challenges to systems and their resilience. The Great Recession of 2008 brought some extreme challenges to the developmental services system. We pulled together, advocated and made it through. In the last few years we’ve been able to restore most of the approximately $ 1 billion in cuts we sustained during the Great Recession. The push and pull between funding and needs continues today as we plan to implement the latest system changes through new Trailer Bill Language requiring the implementation of new mandates for regional centers. Resilience is critical. You’ll see this on a personal level through the story of Michael Cox on page 6. With the proper supports, Michael got himself off the streets and off drugs. These stories of persistence and resilience are woven throughout our community, a constant source of inspiration.

On June 13, 2019, the Budget Trailer Bill (SB 81) for the FY 2019-2020 California State Budget (AB 74) was sent to Governor Gavin Newsom by the Legislature. TCRC has formed an internal task force to implement the requirements of SB 81. The TBL covers a broad range of topics such as rights of and information for persons served, public information around performance contract requirements, certain rate increases for some service providers, and specialized residential services. For a complete copy of SB 81, go to bit.ly/SBill81.

SB 412, authored by Senator Jeff Stone and sponsored by the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) was stopped or “held” in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 30, 2019. This Bill was intended to repeal two taxes on disability, the Family Cost Participation Program or FCPP and the Annual Family Program Fee. The FCPP requires regional centers to pay less for respite, daycare, and camp services than a child needs based on family income and families are expected to pay the difference. The Annual Family Program Fee charges parents of children receiving other services. The regional centers and ARCA will continue to fight to end these programs. Senator Jeff Stone is to be commended for his work to repeal these two disability taxes.

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) delivered the final service provider rate study report to the Legislature on March 15, 2019; public comment was accepted until April 5, 2019. An overview of the rate study well as information on Burns & Associates Inc., is available on the DDS website (www.dds.ca.gov/RateStudy/). Supplemental service provider rate adjustments allowed for by the enacted California State Budget will go into effect on January 1, 2020 and expire on December 31, 2021. The supplemental service provider rate increases are somewhat aligned with the rate study. Increases of 8.2% for certain service codes will occur. Four service codes will receive less than 8.2% and seventeen service codes that were included in the rate study will receive no supplemental rate increase. Service codes that were not part of the rate study will not receive any supplemental rate increases.

TCRC was allocated 110 spaces for persons served who wish to participate in the Self Determination Program during the first three years. Of the group of 110 selected, 62 individuals remained interested in the Self Determination Program and 47 decided to continue receiving their services traditionally. DDS selected additional participants in September to replace those who declined to be part of the Self Determination Program.

Participants who are selected by DDS to enroll in the Self-Determination Program (SDP) are required to attend an orientation to help them learn more about Self-Determination, the Individualized Budget, Fiscal Management Services (FMS), the role of the Independent Facilitator and person centered planning. For access to all of the orientation materials on-line, in multiple languages, go to the DDS website at: www.dds.ca.gov/SDP/SDPMaterials.cfm.

TCRC has the online informational presentation available for anyone who would like to learn more about the program and submit his or her request to DDS. This presentation can be accessed at: https://www.tri-counties.org/self-determination-program/ Email questions to self-determination@tri-counties.org.

Find Board reports and updates on financial issues important to the developmental services system in the Budget Watch section of the TCRC website at www.tri-counties.org/budget-watch.

It’s the will of the people that brings resilience. And that’s why I honor the work of our stakeholders who persist in advocacy efforts in their own spheres. You make a difference every day. Thank you. That is what I’m grateful for this Holiday season.

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