News & Events

Budget Update

News on Special Session


Although clients, families, service providers and advocates across the state worked hard to encourage the passage of SBX2-14 on the final scheduled day of the Special Session, the legislators were not able to reach agreement on this bill. However, they created a conference committee with members from both the Assembly and Senate, from both parties to continue work on this issue.

No help yet for developmental community; special session’s work must continue

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Industry, governor fail to reach deal on new health tax

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Sacramento Bee Editorial Board: Enough speechifying, boost pay for care of disabled people

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LA Daily News: Advocates for those with special needs await cigarette tax vote as session closes.

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9/9/15 Senator Hernandez Introduces Comprehensive Bill to Fund MediCal and Developmentally Disabled Programs

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7/9/15: Senators Jim Beall, Bill Monning, and Fran Pavley have introduced a bill, SBx2,

to provide a 10% across the board funding increase, require the state to develop a ten-year financial sustainability plan to support this system, and cover service providers' costs for minimum wage increases. Read More

6/17/15 - Legislators respond to developmental disability community outcry: "Our commitment has not changed, only the venue.”

Statement from Legislative Leaders on Department of Developmental Services Funding

6/16/15 - Budget Deal Announced by Goveror Brown, Senator DeLeon, and Assembly Member Atkins

Although the Budget passed by the Legislature on Monday 6/15/15 included nominal funding increases for developmental services, these were removed from the final agreement with Governor Brown.

That means that although the budget will include just enough funding increase to cover the anticipated growth in new regional center clients. The hoped-for and fought-for rate increases for service providers and regional centers did not make it through to the final budget agreement.

The Governor did address the need to provide additional support for our system, in a press release announcing that he is calling for a special session of the legislature to address funding for a variety of programs. In his press release he stated: “In the special session, the Governor proposes that the Legislature enact permanent and sustainable funding to provide... funding for additional rate increases for providers of Medi-Cal and developmental disability services.

..."Whereas the state's General Fund cannot afford to provide additional rate increases for providers of service for MediCal recipients and consumers with developmental disabilities..." Read Proclamation.

We will of course continue our efforts to advocate for increased support to strengthen our service system and will watch closely for any new developments in the days to come, the legislature's special sessions and continued efforts by the Developmental Services task force for system reform. The Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA) and the Lanterman Coalition are continuing their Virtual Candlelight Vigil, “Let Your Light Shine for Lanterman.

6/10/15 - Budget Conference Committee Reaches Agreement on Health and Human Services funding. (Unfortunately, None of the increases in the Budget Conference Committee's plan survived the final agreement with the Governor).
The Conference Committee is made up of top legislators, who work out the different proposals that have been made between the Senate and Assembly's Budgets. Each Committee member demonstrated that they heard your voices, and know that developmental services needs and deserves support.Watch video of their June 1st session (video begins at approximately 00:10:00; discussion of regional center rates begins at 00:26). Late Tuesday, June 9, 2015, the Budget Conference Committee approved some funding increases and restorations for health and human services programs, The Governor’s representative from the Department of Finance, expressed concern about the long-term ability of the state to afford such funding levels, and opposed almost all the increases in funding that the Budget Conference Committee approved.

What the Conference Committee approved (but was later thrown out during final negotiations with Governor)
· 5% increase for Supported Living, Supported Employment, and Respite.
· 2.5% increase for transportation.
· Funding for 21 dental coordinators and 21 forensic specialists (one per regional center)
· 5% increase for Client’s Rights Advocates (Disability Rights California)
· 2.5% increase across-the-board for services whose funds were not previously increased
· 2.5% increase to the core staffing formula
The Committee also approved Trailer bill language requiring the Department of Developmental Services to annually report on progress related to rate reform, and language expressing legislative intent to calculate savings from the closure of developmental centers and reinvest it in the community.

What Was Proposed in the Governor's Budget for 2015-16?

The Governor’s Budget for 2015-16, released in January, and his recently released “May Revision” proposed no increases or adjustments for regional centers or service provider rates, despite significant evidence and input that after many years of rate reductions and freezes, the developmental services system is experiencing severe strain upon its ability to serve our community. Last year the Governor directed the Health and Human Services Agency to convene a work group to review these issues. In the past year this Developmental Services Work Group has been meeting to analyze issues, but no recommendations have emerged as yet. At legislative hearings in the Senate and Assembly, budget subcommittees discussed at length the lack of significant funding adjustments for regional centers and community-based service providers in the past decade, and have listened closely to extensive public comments. Many have expressed deep concerns about the impact of a prolonged rate freeze, and an outdated, inadequate funding formula upon the quality, stability, and accessibility of services and supports in the community. 67 Legislators (a majority in both the Senate and the Assembly) have signed a letter supporting increased funding to support developmental services. Legislators have also expressed interest in using savings achieved from the closure of developmental centers for new investments in regional center services for people with developmental disabilities in the community.

Budget Recap 2014-15
The 2014-15 Budget included $5.2 billion ($2.9 billion General Fund) for support of all developmental services including the regional centers. "Trailer Bill Language" was also enacted to implement the following:

  • The budget will cover an anticipated increase of 9,480 regional center clients, and $125.6 million increase over 2013-2014 fiscal year for caseload growth and service utilization.
  • Early Start eligibility restored to pre-2009 levels:
    Currently, developmentally delayed infants and toddlers who are determined to have a significant difference between the expected level of development for their age and their current level of functioning are eligible for early intervention services.
    Beginning January 1st, 2015, infants and toddlers who are at high risk of having substantial developmental disability, due to a combination of biomedical risk factors, will also be eligible.
    Eligibility is determined in either case by a multidisciplinary team of qualified professionals and the parents.A "significant difference will be defined as a 33 % delay in one or more developmental areas.
  • Payment for Health Care Service Plan or Health Insurance Policy Deductibles: Similar to the implementation of payments for health insurance copayments and coinsurance (which became effective in 2013), regional centers were authorized in 2014 to pay for applicable insurance deductibles for services that are paid for by a client's health plan, if the client meets specified conditions (eg. income less than 400% of federal poverty leve).
  • Rate Adjustments Due to the Minimum Wage Increase and Changes in Federal Regulations Implementing the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The rate adjustments shall be specific to payroll costs associated with any increase necessary to come into compliance with the increased state minimum wage, but not for general wage enhancement for employees already paid above the increased minimum.
    Click here for more information on implementation of funding for the minimum wage increase.
  • $7.8 million increase to fund the changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations, for payment of overtime for in-home workers by service providers that previously were not required to pay overtime.
  • Provisions for development of community resources, including two new models of care for enhanced behavioral supports homes and community crisis homes.
  • The Director of Health and Human Services has been directed by the Governor to convene a task force to review issues related to adequate funding of community services (regional centers and service providers), and to continue to work on issues identified in the Plan for the Future of Developmental Centers.

for current and prior years on the DDS website:


The 2013-14 budget reflected the state’s gradual economic and budget recovery process, and it maintained the Governor’s proposals for cautiously controlled spending, to avoid a deficit.

Regional Centers’ budget for 2013-14 saw an overall increase to Purchase of Service funding of about $150 million over 2012-13, primarily to provide for projected growth by 8,637 total clients. The best news to come for regional centers and our providers in this budget was the discontinuation of mandated payment reductions for service providers.

For medically necessary treatments that are covered by clients/families’ health care plans (such as behavioral health services) lawmakers added directives for how regional centers may provide services . The new language in the law prescribed the limited conditions under which regional centers’ may cover insurance co-payments (e.g. based on the family’s income of 400% or less of federal poverty level), and prohibited payment of deductibles.

Another provision of the budget trailer bill made the Annual Family Program Fee continue indefinitely, for families of minor children who are served by regional centers, receive certain purchased services, and who have income at or above 400% of federal poverty level. Regional Centers advocated the ‘sunset’ of this fee in June of this year as originally planned, but it has been made permanent.

Some of the funding restoration hoped for by advocates for people with developmental disabilities did not make it into the final budget deal. Our system came together in force, statewide, to advocate for restoration of eligibility for Early Start services to what was in place prior to 2009. However, the changes in eligibility for Early Start services that went into effect in 2009 remained in place for 2013-14, and there was no funding for regional centers to provide prevention services for infants and toddlers at risk of developmental disabilities. (Regional Centers continue to serve infants and toddlers birth to 3 years with more significant developmental delays, or established risk conditions with a high probability of resulting in delay).


In June 2012, both the Senate and Assembly approved the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) plans for reducing developmental services by $200 million in 2012-13. The budget was passed by the legislature, and signed by the Governor.

In November 2012, voters passed Proposition 30. As a result, California Regional Centers will not be required to implement an additional $50 million reduction for the second half of 2012-13. This reduction would have been part of a larger $6 billion total statewide reduction for a variety of services and programs in California, and would have amounted to a total $100 million additional reduction for regional centers in the full fiscal year 2013-14.

Regional Centers continued to implement changes which had already been required, associated with the reduction of $200 million to the state’s annual developmental services budget, under the state Budget Act passed in June of 2012.

"The Budget reflects $200 million in 2012-13 savings. Savings will be achieved by increasing eligibility for federal funding, increasing insurance billing for certain autism-related services, redesigning options for consumers who have been hard to serve in the community, and a 1.25% provider payment reduction."

As reported above by the Department of Finance, one component of the $200 million reduction to developmental services in the 2012-13 fiscal year is the payment reduction of 1.25% for service providers (purchase of service) and for regional center operations. This represents a partial restoration of payments, compared to the reduction of 4.25% which had been in effect since 2010.

These changes include:

  • a payment reduction for regional centers and service providers of 1.25% (as noted above, expected to end June 30, 2013)
  • assisting families to access private insurance coverage for behavioral health treatment and other medically necessary services instead of paying directly for these service using regional center funds
  • a standardized process for reviewing needed supported living services
  • strict limitations on admissions to the developmental centers for individuals with exceptionally challenging service needs.
  • In addition we continue to implement measures instituted in earlier years, such as continued assessment of annual family program fees, and development of transportation service plans designed to eliminate contract transportation for individual clients.

Despite these measures, regional centers are concerned that their concerted efforts will not be able to achieve the full $200million in savings, and with the possibility of ending the year in deficit. Together the regional centers are continuing to ensure that individual needs identified in individual/family service plans are met, while working closely together with the Department of Developmental Services to get through this year within funds available.

2011-12 Recap
Some of the most significant changes made in 2011-12 include, but are not limited to:

  • Continuation of temporary 4.25% payment reduction to regional center operations and service providers (purchase of services), and administrative reductions to regional centers and DDS (changed to 1.25% for 2012-13)
  • A new Annual Family Program Fee of $150-$200 for families of minor children who live at home, and have income of at least 400% or more of the federal poverty level. Some families will be exempt, eg. if the child receives Medi-Cal or does not receive services beyond eligibility determination, needs assessment and service coordination. (Continuing)
  • Elimination of the regional center Prevention Program. Effective July 1st, 2012, infants ‘at-risk’ of developmental disability will be referred to Family Resource Centers for information and referral, while regional centers will continue to provide services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays who meet Early Start criteria. (Continuing)
  • A new requirement for families to provide the regional center with a copy of any health benefit card at the time of assessment or at the individual service planning meeting, to promote access of any available benefits. (Continuing)
  • A requirement to access education-funded day services, rather than regional center-funded programs, for 18-22 year old adults.(Continuing)
  • Requirements for adult day services to offer flexible or half-day schedules. (Continuing)
  • Allowing lower payment levels for individual clients in licensed homes whose needs have decreased, without having to move to another home. (Continuing)
  • Providing shared supported living services for adults with shared tasks in the same supported living home, Conducting independent assessment of support needs. (Beginning in 2012-13 a new system is to be implemented for standardized assessment of all clients receiving supported living services, rather than independent assessment of only those clients receiving higher cost SLS services).
  • A new requirement for parents receiving behavior services to verify receipt of those services prior to payment. (Continuing)