Rights: Appeals, Complaints, and Whistleblower
The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act affirms that individuals with developmental disabilities have the same legal rights and responsibilities guaranteed all other individuals by the United States Constitution and the Constitution and laws of the State of California. Section 4502 of the Welfare and Institutions Code includes a list of specific rights. In order to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families know about their rights, the department developed, with the assistance of Capitol People First, Short Center North/DDSO, Inc., Mayer-Johnson Co., a handout graphically illustrating the rights.
Click here to download the handout in various languages.
Client Rights Advocate
The Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) is part of Disability Rights California. OCRA has a Clients’ Rights Advocate (CRA) at each regional center. The CRA helps protect regional center consumer’s rights. OCRA is funded by the state Department of Developmental Services. The following is contact information for our Westside Regional Center, Client Rights Advocate.
Kristen Evans – Clients’ Rights Advocate (CRA)
Ana Rivas – Assistant CRA
Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy
5901 Green Valley Circle, Suite 150
Culver City, CA 90230
Phone: (310) 846-4949
Fax: (310) 846-4932
Appeals, Complaints & Whistleblower
A number of formal processes have been established for handling appeals and complaints by the Department of Developmental Services. The following is a brief list of each process with a short description. For information on how to file a complaint or download a complaint process form, click here.
Consumer Rights Complaint Process
A mechanism to be used when an individual consumer, or any representative acting on behalf of a consumer, believes that any right has been wrongly or unfairly denied by a regional center, developmental center, or a service provider. This process is not to be used by consumers to resolve disputes about eligibility, or the nature, scope, or amount of services.
Process for resolving disputes with a regional or developmental center about eligibility or the nature, scope, or amount of services and supports. This process is not to be used by consumers to resolve issues related to denials of rights.
The Early Start Mediation Conference Requests
A voluntary process used to informally resolve disagreements between a parent, as defined in law, and a regional center or a local education agency related to any alleged violation of federal or state statutes/regulation governing California’s Early Start Program, including eligibility and services, or related to a proposal or refusal for identification, evaluation, assessment, placement, or services. Mediation can be requested as the first option for resolution or can also be requested when during a complaint or due process hearing process, if a parent decides that mediation might be more appropriate. A complaint must be withdrawn if the Complainant elects to participate in mediation within the 60 day complaint investigation.
The Early Start Due Process Hearing
Process used to resolve disagreements between parents and a regional center or a local education agency related to a proposal or refusal for identification, evaluation, assessment, placement, or services.
The Early Start State Complaint Process
Process used to investigate and resolve any alleged violation of federal or state statutes or regulations governing California’s Early Start.
Family Home Agency Appeals
A process that can be used by a FHA applicant or vendor to appeal actions taken by a regional center concerning the FHA’s vendorization, Certificate of Approval, and movement of a consumer.
Language Access Complaint Process
It is the policy of the Department of Developmental Services to provide the public equal access to information about its programs and provision of services. DDS strives to reduce and/or eliminate any language barriers for persons who are non-English speaking or who have limited English proficiency. In accordance with the Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act and Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964, DDS provides verbal interpretation and translation of written materials regarding the DDS service delivery system in the languages that meet a 5 percent threshold of the persons served, as well as many of other non-threshold languages as possible by utilizing certified bi-lingual DDS staff or contracted services.
Title 17 Complaint Procedure
The Title 17 Complaint Procedure is to be used when: (1) one of the “personal rights” of an individual who resides in a developmental center, community care or health care facility, has been formally denied by the facility as allowed in Title 17 of California Code of Regulation Section 50530; and (2) the consumer disagrees with the facility’s decision.
Regional Center or Vendor/Contractor Whistleblower Complaints
If your complaint relates to an improper activity by a regional center or vendor/contractor, this process can be used to file the complaint with DDS.
Citizen Comments and Complaints Form (DS 2007)
If your problem or complaint does not fit one of the above formal processes, DDS has created a form which you may use to submit these complaints or comments to DDS. You may also use the form to acknowledge any individual, regional center, developmental center, or service provider for noteworthy service or conduct.