What is the Self-Determination Program (SDP)?
The California statewide Self-Determination Program is a voluntary alternative to the traditional way of providing regional center services. The SDP is being developed by the Department of Developmental Services to allow participants to have more control over selecting their services and supports. One of the ways this can be done is by giving participants (or their parents or legal representatives) a specific budget to purchase the services and supports that they need to make their person-centered plan work better for them. Participants may choose their services and pick which providers deliver those services. Participants are responsible for staying within their annual budget.
The program has five principles that are part of the law:
- Freedom (to plan a good life) – to have the same rights as everyone, to choose family and friends that can help, where you want to live, how you want your time to be spent, and who supports you
- Authority (over your personal resources) – You have a budget, and you get to decide exactly what to spend that money on in order to reach your goals.
- Support (for building a life in the community) – to choose what you need to meet your personal goals and hire people that will help you live the life you want in your community
- Responsibility (and pride in making your own decisions) – to be accountable for your budget and the way money is spent
- Confirmation (of the important role you play) – In the Self-Determination program, you play a critical role as the person who makes decisions. You and your family get to choose the services and supports that will help you accomplish the goals in your IPP.
For more information, visit the DDS Self-Determination Program Home Page or click here to read WRC’s Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee “Your Life, Your Way” presentation.
How is the SDP different than my current service coordination?
The way the Self-Determination Program works is different than the way services are delivered right now. The thing that makes self-determination so exciting is that it gives you flexibility in choosing your services, supports, and providers. In the Self-Determination Program, you can buy different services, not just those through the regional center.
The program offers a lot of flexibility. Services can include, but aren’t limited to: individual training; vehicle adaptations; or support with communication. Your services and supports can be from almost anyone in the community. Right now, your Service Coordinator from the regional center is the person who helps you find the services you need.
In self-determination, you get to decide who else you want to help you. This could be your family or friends, or an Independent Facilitator. There will be money in a budget and you will choose which services and supports to have to meet your goals.
Self-Determination offers you the opportunity to be creative, think outside the box, and make your own plan for how you want to live. For more information, visit the DDS Self-Determination Program Home Page or view WRC’s Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee calendar.
To participate in the Self-Determination Program, a person with a developmental disability must:
- Be a regional center consumer, and
- Agree to the following specified in the law
- Attend an orientation to the Self-Determination Program
- Use Self-Determination Program funds only when generic services are not available
- Only purchase services necessary to implement the Individual Program Plan
- Manage services and supports within an individual budget
- Use a Financial Management Services provider
Consumers residing in a developmental center may be eligible for the Self-Determination Program if they are expected to transition to the community within 90 days.
Participants do not have to be in the Medi-Cal program.
During the first three years of the Self-Determination Program, enrollment is limited to 2,500 people. To help ensure the selection of the 2,500 participants is equitable, the following process was developed by the Self-Determination Program advisory group.
What does someone need to do to be considered for enrollment?
- Participate in a required Pre-Enrollment Informational Meeting at your regional center. It’s important to hear, in greater detail, information about the Self-Determination Program. 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 participating in the required Pre-Enrollment Informational Meeting, let the regional center know you’re interested in enrolling in the Self-Determination Program. After you have participated in the required Pre-Enrollment Informational Meeting and you think that Self-Determination is a good option for you or your family member, you must let the regional center know you’re interested in enrolling in the Self-Determination Program. As discussed below, this does not guarantee you will be selected as part of the first 2,500 participants.
What happens after someone participates in the required Pre-Enrollment Informational Meeting and lets the regional center know they’re interested?
- Regional centers send names of those interested to the Department of Developmental Services. Only those consumers/family members who have participated in a required Pre-Enrollment Informational Meeting will be eligible for enrollment in the Self-Determination program.
- The Department of Developmental Services will send confirmation to those whose names were forwarded by the regional centers.
- The Department of Developmental Services will randomly select the first 2,500 enrollees from among those who have attended a required Pre-Enrollment Informational Meeting. This selection will be made from the names of those received by the Department of Developmental Services from the regional centers. The selection takes into consideration the following factors to ensure those selected are representative of the statewide regional center population:
- Regional Center
- Disability diagnosis
- Those selected can enroll in the Self-Determination Program. The enrollment will be done through the regional centers who will work with each participant to enroll in orientation, establish an individual budget, etc.
- If not selected initially, consumers will remain on the interest list for future enrollment opportunities.
After the first three years, the program will then be available to everyone. For more information, visit the DDS Self-Determination Program Home Page or view WRC’s Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee calendar.
Updates on the status of the program will be posted to the DDS page as they become available by visiting http://www.dds.ca.gov/SDP/SDPUpdates.cfm . If you want to be notified when updates are made, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be included on the notification list.
Self Determination Local Advisory Committee
This meeting that is held on the second Tuesday of each month at Westside Regional Center from 6:00-8:00 pm. The committee shall consist of the regional center client’s rights advocate, consumers, family members, and other advocates and community leaders. A majority of the committee shall be consumers and their family members. The committee shall reflect the multicultural diversity and geographic profile of the catchment area. The committee shall review the development and ongoing progress of the Self Determination Program, including whether the program advances the principles of self determination and is operating consistent with the requirements of this section, and may make ongoing recommendations for improvement to the regional center and the department. All are welcome to attend these meetings. For more information, please call Erica Reimer Snell (310)258-4281.
*UPDATE* Self-Determination Waiver Approval
June 7, 2018 Communication from CA DDS
The Department is very pleased to announce that the application for federal funding, or Waiver, for the Self-Determination Program was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This news represents an essential step toward providing people who receive regional center services and their families an alternative way to coordinate their services, with more freedom and control over how the services are provided and the individuals who support them. We would like to express sincere appreciation for the assistance and guidance from the Department’s self-determination advisory workgroup and other stakeholders, which has been instrumental in gaining CMS’ approval of the Waiver. We also thank and recognize the work and technical assistance received from many representatives of CMS and California’s Department of Health Care Services.
In October 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown signed Senate Bill 468, authored by Senators Bill Emmerson and Jim Beall and co-authored by Assembly Members Holly Mitchell and Wesley Chesbro, into law. This law, championed by remarkable and determined self-advocates, family members and advocacy organizations, 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, which 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.
Self-determination in California began almost twenty years ago as a small pilot project in limited areas of the state, with the intention of eventually expanding the program statewide. The time from the start of the pilot project, to Governor Brown’s signing of the law in October 2013, to now has only heightened the desire to implement self-determination broadly in California.
While approval of the Waiver represents the key step towards implementation of the Self-Determination Program, the Department and the self-determination advisory workgroup must continue to focus on finalizing program components for implementation. Providing information and support, in particular training and orientation materials, needed to assist those who are selected and choose to participate is central to implementation and is in the final stages of completion. We remain committed to implementing this important program and look forward to the continued collaboration, not only with the Department’s advisory workgroup, but also the local volunteer advisory committees and the Statewide Self-Determination Advisory Committee. The Department will publish a timeline with key dates for implementation by June 18, 2018. Updates will be posted on the Department’s dedicated website page for Self-Determination: https://www.dds.ca.gov/SDP/. If you would like to be notified of future updates about Self-Determination, please send an email to email@example.com. Information for those who are interested on how they can be considered for participation in the Self-Determination Program can be found at https://www.dds.ca.gov/SDP/sdpEnrollment.cfm
Please join me in celebrating the approval of the Self-Determination Program Waiver and thanking the Department’s self-determination advisory workgroup for their dedication and countless hours of work to make it happen.
NANCY BARGMANN, Director
Department of Developmental Services