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Self-Determination Program

Programa De Auto-Determinación – en español

On October 1, 2018, the Department announced that the initial 2,500 participants for the Self-Determination Program (SDP) have been selected.  Those individuals who participated in an informational meeting and whose names were received by the Department no later than September 17, 2018 at 5:00 PM were considered for selection (by the Department) for the initial 2,500 participants in the Self-Determination Program. Individuals whose names are received after September 17, 2018 will be considered for subsequent selections of SDP participants. Subsequent participant selections will occur if some of the initial 2,500 participants choose not to enroll or they enroll, and then decide not to continue in the SDP. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) will continue to collect and add names of those interested in the program for these subsequent selections. Timing for future selections will be established at a later date. TCRC will continue to have the online informational presentation available for anyone who would like to learn more about the program and submit their name to DDS.

View the Self-Determination Online Presentation in English

Vea la presentacion de autodeterminacion en Español

Self-Determination Services (SDS) Overview

On June 7, 2018, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) announced that the application for federal funding, or “Waiver”, of the Self-Determination Program (SDP) was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This approval is a critical milestone toward providing people who receive regional center services, and their families, an alternative way to coordinate their services.  The Self-Determination Program is intended to offer people more freedom and control over how their services are provided and more freedom and control in who supports them.

Self-Determination began in California almost twenty years ago as a small pilot project at five regional centers, including Tri-Counties Regional Center, with the intention of eventually expanding the program statewide. Then in October of 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., signed Senate Bill 468, into law. This law established a statewide Self-Determination Program that adheres to the following principles to ensure those who participate have:

Freedom – to exercise the same rights as all citizens; to establish, with freely chosen supporters, family and friends, where they want to live, with whom they want to live, how their time will be occupied, and who supports them;

Authority – to control a budget in order to purchase services and supports of their choosing;

Support – including the ability to arrange resources and personnel, this will allow flexibility to live in the community of their choice;

Responsibility – which includes the ability to take responsibility for making decisions in their own lives and accept a valued role in their community, and

Confirmation – in making decisions in their own lives by designing and operating the system that they rely on.


DDS, in collaboration with the Statewide Self-Determination Advisory Workgroup and other stakeholders, have been working on the major components necessary to implement the Self-Determination Program (SDP). Outlined below are some of the major components requiring completion prior to the Self Determination Program becoming operational:

  • Federal Funding Approval

The application for federal funding or Waiver was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on June 7, 2018.

  • Individual Budgets – Target for completion: August 15, 2018

Task: Finalizing guidance information on how the individual budget amount is calculated, and the process for adjusting the budget when needed.

  • Financial Management Services (FMS)– Target for completion: August 31, 2018.

Task: Finalizing FMS vendorization requirements and rates.

  • Independent Facilitators– Target for completion: August 31, 2018.

Task: Defining the role(s) an independent facilitator may play and how this may be different if a participant chooses to select their service coordinator to fulfill the functions of an independent facilitator.

  • Participant Selection– Target for completion: October 1, 2018

Task: Selection of the initial SDP participants. It’s important to note that only those individuals who have participated in an informational meeting and whose names have been received by the Department by September 17, 2018 at 5:00 PM will be considered for selection (by the Department) of the initial 2,500 participants in the SDP. Individuals whose names are received after September 17, 2018 will be considered for subsequent selections of SDP participants. Subsequent participant selections will occur if some of the initial 2,500 participants choose not to enroll or they enroll, then decide not to continue in the SDP. Timing for future selections will be established at a later date. Information for those who are interested on how they can be considered for participation in the SDP can be found at

  • Home and Community-Based “Settings” Requirements
  • Target for completion:  October 31, 2018.

Task: Finalizing training materials on the federal requirements, how they apply to services in the SDP and the assessment process for ensuring all services, or “settings”, meet the requirements. Due to federal regulations effective in March 2014, everywhere someone receives services (e.g. the “setting” where the service is provided,) must promote, and not prevent, community participation and inclusion. The target date projects time needed to provide training to those who will be involved in the assessment process.

  • Orientation Materials– Target for completion: October 31, 2018.

Task: Finalize all orientation materials. The orientation materials will form the basis of the information participants need to support them in the SDP. In addition to the components above, the orientation will include information on what services are available in the SDP and tools to help participants choose qualified service providers. Training for those providing these orientations will also be necessary prior to participant orientations.

Who is eligible for the Self-Determination program?

For the first three years, the number of participants in the Self- Determination Program is capped at 2,500 individuals throughout the state. TCRC will have 114 individuals or families enrolled in the program for the first three years. This includes the 14 individuals who are currently in our Self-Determination pilot project plus an additional 100 people that TCRC will be able to add under the new program.  The process for selecting and enrolling participants in the first three years is described in the Self-Determination Enrollment Process. After the three year phase-in period, the program will be available to all eligible persons served by the regional center and their families on a voluntary basis with no limit on the number of participants.

How to enroll in Self-Determination

Individuals and or their families, legal guardian must attend a required Pre‐Enrollment Informational Meeting at the regional center.

At this meeting, people will learn not only about the opportunities but also the increased responsibilities involved in accepting more control over coordinating their services.

Understanding this information will help people decide if the Self‐Determination Program might be a good option for them. After the informational meeting, you will be given the opportunity to sign-up to participate in the first three years of the program. Please note, placing your name on the interest list does not guarantee selection to be enrolled for the first three years.

TCRC will send the names of those who have expressed an interest to DDS who will randomly select the individuals from Tri-Counties Regional Center (TCRC) to participate. This selection will take into consideration the ethnicity, age, gender and the type of developmental disability of the person served.


 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. For a description of the proposed services, please view it here.


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 past 12 months.  The budget amount can be changed by the IPP planning team if the participant has 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.

Thank you for your interest in the Self-Determination program and please check the Self-Determination page on the DDS website at: for the most recent updates.

For more information, click on the links below:

Department of Developmental Disabilities Services:






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