The Regional Center is the focal point for Californians with developmental disabilities and their families. The Lanterman Act established this regional model because its authors realized that consumers and families would need local help navigating our large and complex service system.
We believe we have the best chance for success in service delivery if all stakeholders (consumers, families, “vendored” service providers, other state and local agencies, staff and board) are partners, committed to the vision and mission of VMRC, and if they are active participants in establishing our direction and priorities.
We value our relationship with all of our partners. We recognize that our success or failure is inextricably linked to theirs and theirs to ours. We know we must all work together with a common sense of purpose if we are to achieve the vision and the mission we have jointly established.
The family is the consumer’s primary support system. The family is the constant, whereas public and private agencies, organizations, and professionals may come and go. A family-centered system supports and assists families in their natural and pivotal role. In such a system families are equal partners and collaborate with professionals and participate in all aspects of decision-making.
THE DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES
The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is part of the State Health and Welfare Agency and administers the contracts with each of the twenty-one regional centers. DDS sets many of the regulatory standards for service. Department officials are located in Sacramento but frequently visit regional centers to conduct audits, monitor service provision, and provide consultation. The Department reports, through the Health and Welfare Agency, to the Governor on the status of services provided by regional centers and represents the Administration in the Legislature whenever matters affecting citizens with developmental disabilities are discussed. As you can see, DDS is a key partner in serving our consumers.
FAMILY RESOURCE NETWORK (FRN)
Family Resource Network (FRN) is a parent-directed nonprofit organization that provides support, information, resources and referrals to families raising children with special needs or disabilities in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties. Services include peer support, workshops, support groups, lending library and newsletter. There is no fee to be associated with FRN. For more information contact FRN at (209) 472-3674, toll free (800) 847-3030, email FRN at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit FRN’s website at www.frcn.org.
DISABILITY RIGHTS CALIFORNIA
Disability Rights California, Inc. (DRC) is a federally funded agency which conducts both systems and individual advocacy. It has a volunteer board and is staffed primarily by attorneys and paralegal staff DRC has several offices in California and has been active in representing consumers who may have been deprived of their service rights. For more information, visit DRC’s website www.disabilityrightsca.org/
STATE COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES – AREA BOARD 6
There are thirteen Area Boards in the State of California which are also established by the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act and are components of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. The members of the Area Boards are volunteers, many of whom are parents of consumers with developmental disabilities or are consumers themselves. Some of the Board members are appointed by the Governor and others are appointed by the County Boards of Supervisors. There is one Area Board to serve VMRC’s service area: the Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board (209-473-6930). The boards have small staffs and their mission is to perform area-wide planning for developmental disabilities and to function in a general advocacy and monitoring capacity.
STATE COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Each state, pursuant to federal law, has a State Council on Developmental Disabilities. In California, the State Council is also mandated under the Lanterman Act. It too is a volunteer Board consisting of consumers with developmental disabilities, parents, interested citizens and certain state government representatives. Some of the Council members are appointed by the Governor. The Council does planning and systems review from a statewide perspective and directs the activities of Area Boards. For more information visit SCDD’s website www.scdd.ca.gov.
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROVIDERS (VENDORS)
All direct services for consumers are provided by community agencies, programs and professionals, except intake, assessment, service coordination and advocacy which are provided directly by the regional center. Those from whom we purchase services are called “vendors.” A vendor may operate a program, such as a community based toddler program, or may provide an individual service, such as may be provided by a physician or a speech therapist. Some vendors operate non-profit programs while others are for profit.
Services offered or available to the general public, as distinguished from specialized services that are intended for specific groups of people, are called “generic services.” As examples, training provided by the Department of Rehabilitation is considered a generic service because it is offered to any California resident in need of rehabilitation, and education services provided by the public schools are generic services because they are available to all California children. Many generic service agencies, such as the schools, the county public health and mental health services, and California Children’s Services provide vital services for our consumers. They, too, are important partners in serving consumers with developmental disabilities and their families, and we have an essential role in coordinating these services.
ASSOCIATION OF REGIONAL CENTER AGENCIES
The Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) is the statewide association for California’s 21 regional centers. ARCA serves as the representative for regional centers regarding state legislative policy, contractual and fiscal issues, and provides an exchange of information.