Thursday, October 10, 2013

Block measure targets service inequities to children with developmental disabilities

SACRAMENTO – Governing boards of the state’s 21 regional centers of the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS) will receive training and support to increase their linguistic and cultural competency under SB 367, a measure approved today by the governor.

SB 367 would also require the regional centers’ governing boards to assess how well they are serving linguistically and culturally underserved populations and to provide recommendations to the director of the regional center and post on the Internet the training provided to their governing boards.

“We know we must do better to provide services and care to children with autism and other disorders,” Block said. “We can and must perform better for regional center clients by identifying areas for improvement and providing additional support and training to the governing boards who direct those centers. Strong leaders are critical in any organization.”

DDS contracts with the 21 regional centers across the state to coordinate, purchase and provide community-based services for eligible consumers with developmental disabilities. More than 220,000 Californians with developmental disabilities are served through this system.

Block said race, language and socio-economic status play a large role in creating obstacles to access. “That shouldn’t happen, and SB 367 will help us focus on creating equal access to services. My bill will help ensure that our regional centers are working to eliminate cultural and language barriers to treatment.”

Block’s bill is part of a Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders legislative package. In April 2012, the state senate conducted a hearing to determine how well regional centers were serving their clients. The hearing resulted in a 119-page report, “A Preliminary Report by the Taskforce on Equity and Diversity for Regional Center Autism Services,” which identified 19 recommended changes to practice within the Developmental Services system.


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