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Quality Assessment / National Core Indicators

Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 4571 mandates the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to identify and implement a nationally validated quality assessment tool that enables DDS to monitor the performance of California's developmental disabilities service system and assess quality and performance among regional centers. The National Core Indicator (NCI) survey instrument was chosen as the quality assessment tool in 2009. NCI is a multi-state collaboration; Developmental disability agencies in forty-one states and the District of Columbia voluntarily participate in the NCI program.

DDS began annual implementation of the NCI survey in 2010 to collect quantitative data on consumer satisfaction, provision of services, and personal outcomes. The changes in the statute in fiscal year 2013/2014 directed DDS evaluate the linguistic and cultural competency of services through the Quality Assessment project. To this end, DDS added additional questions to the consumer survey in fiscal year 2014/2015.

The surveys are in-person interviews with adult consumers and a subgroup of individuals who have moved from developmental centers; and mail-in surveys of families, guardians of adult consumers in community settings, and families with children aged 3-18 receiving regional center services.


The second California NCI Child Family Survey will be mailed to families of children in the fall of fiscal year 2015/2016. The survey questions ask families about life at home, involvement in the community, access and delivery of services and supports, satisfaction of services choices, decision making and control.

The sixth California NCI Survey of individuals who have transitioned from developmental centers into the community (movers) will begin in the winter of FY 15/6. The SCDD will conduct the surveys in person with a sample of adults who have transitioned from developmental centers into the community within the last five years. Click on the link to see a video and learn more about the NCI interview: What to Expect During an NCI Survey.

The Department is conducting a longitudinal study to better understand the experience among movers and their families during the first two years post transition into the community. The longitudinal study will survey the first 100 people transitioning from a Developmental Center into the community and their families beginning in January 2016. Study participants will be surveyed at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years post transition using the NCI survey tools. A User Friendly version of the NCI survey has been developed to increase the response rates among individuals receiving services who have more intensive support needs.


NCI Reports

Project Contact Information

For questions about the National Core Indicators, contact:

Last Updated: 11/3/2015