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Efforts to Reduce Purchase of Service Disparities

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) section 4519.5 requires regional centers to annually collaborate with the Department of Developmental Services (Department) to gather data related to purchase of service (POS) authorization, utilization, and expenditures, by each regional center. This section also requires regional centers to undertake certain activities to identify significant disparities and barriers to equitable access to services and supports, and to develop recommendations and plans to reduce existing disparities.

ABX2 1 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2016), added WIC section 4519.5(h), which allocates $11 million to the Department to assist regional centers in the implementation of strategies to reduce POS disparities. Regional centers are required to meet with their communities to discuss proposed strategies to address disparities in the POS data, and then submit their proposals to the Department for review.

FISCAL YEAR 2017/18 DISPARITY FUNDS PROGRAM GUIDELINES FOR APPLICANTS New content!

Structure for Fiscal Year 2017/18 Disparity Funds Program

Background

In 2016, ABX2 1 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2016) added Welfare and Institutions (W&I) Code section 4519.5(h), which allocated $11 million to the Department of Developmental Services (Department) to assist regional centers (RCs) in the implementation of strategies to reduce disparities in regional centers' purchase of services (POS). In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016/17, the Department reviewed RC proposals and approved funding for projects to increase opportunities for equitable access to services and supports. The Department is committed to learning more about the challenges consumers and families face in accessing services, and using available resources to make measurable progress in reducing disparities.

Targeted Populations

Analyses of RC POS data consistently find that consumers from communities of color such as Latinos, African Americans and Asians receive less funding for RC services than individuals who identify as White. For example, FY 2015/16 data shows that statewide average POS authorizations and expenditures for White consumers were significantly higher than those for consumers who identify as Hispanic, African American, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. These disparities in POS between communities of color and consumers identifying as White are also evident within the Early Start population, with the exception of Asian consumers, who have higher average POS than Whites. Early Start is California's system of early intervention services provided to infants and toddlers (age's birth to 2 years) with disabilities or developmental delays and their families.

Community-Based Organizations Outreach

Outreach efforts to community-based organizations that represent groups impacted by disparities will include:

  • Department sponsored community meetings conducted in multiple locations throughout the state.
  • Dissemination of Disparity Funds Program grant guidelines to organizations known to the Department that represent and work with underserved communities.
  • Sharing of Disparity Funds Program information with the Director's Disparities Advisory Group, which includes representatives from community-based organizations, advocacy organizations, RCs and Department staff.
  • Posting of Disparity Funds Program information on the Department's website.

Statewide Strategies

California statute requires RCs to collaborate annually with the Department to gather data related to each RC's POS authorization, utilization, and expenditures. RCs are also required to meet annually with members of their local communities to discuss the data and improvements in services provided to underserved communities, and report the outcomes of the meetings to the Department. The Department uses this information, along with stakeholder input gathered through Department-sponsored community meetings, monitoring activities and the Director's Disparities Advisory Group, when funding projects to develop statewide strategies for addressing disparities. In addition, the effectiveness of existing disparity activities is evaluated to assist in determining Department priorities. In approving funding for FY 2017/18 proposals, community based, geographically based and statewide strategies will be considered.

Use of Funding

Approved project funding may only be used for activities that RCs are otherwise required by statute or regulation to conduct. Each proposal will be subject to an evaluation by a review committee consisting of Department of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Rehabilitation, and Disability Rights California staff. The proposal review process will include scoring criteria (in areas such as, but not limited to, the applicant's description of how funds will address challenges and problems specific to the project's target population, how community input and feedback guided the project proposal, how it will guide project implementation, and how the project will be evaluated to show its effectiveness).

Project Evaluation

Each organization with approved funding will be required to submit quarterly status reports, throughout the life of the project, in a format determined by the Department. The Department will evaluate status reports to ensure funding is being used in accordance with state rules, sufficient data is being collected to measure the project's effectiveness, and the project's goals and objectives are being achieved. By March 1, 2019, grantees must also submit a comprehensive evaluation report that details the effectiveness of the project in reducing disparities in POS expenditures.

The Department will initiate discussions with organizations that are not meeting project goals and objectives, and may determine if continued project funding is appropriate.

Fiscal Year 2017/18 Disparity Funds Program guidelines will be issued in September 2017 and posted to this website. For more information about the Department's efforts to reduce disparities in the purchase of RC services, please visit: http://www.dds.ca.gov/RC/disparities.cfm.

PUBLIC STAKEHOLDER DISPARITY MEETINGS

In August 2016, the Department conducted four public stakeholder meetings to review purchase of service data and develop recommendations to help reduce disparities. The following links include the PowerPoint displayed at the meetings, along with a summary of public comments.

APPROVED REGIONAL CENTER ACTIVITIES

The Department approved proposed activities for all 21 regional centers with funding allocated via ABX2 1. In reviewing regional centers' proposals, the Department took into account statewide needs and available resources, as well as information gathered during the Department's statewide stakeholder meetings. In addition, proposals were analyzed for compliance with applicable statute and regulations, and the Department's guidelines. The following links provide summaries of approved activities.

FISCAL YEAR 2016/17 REGIONAL CENTER PROPOSALS

The following is a list of regional center proposals reviewed by the Department for Fiscal Year 2016/17. Proposed activities and requested funding amounts may have changed as a result of subsequent discussions between the Department and the regional centers.

REGIONAL CENTER PURCHASE OF SERVICE DISPARITIES SURVEY

In August 2016, the Department held four public meetings across California to gather feedback regarding disparities in Purchase of Service expenditures. This online survey is available for additional public input.

If you have any questions, please send an email to RCB@dds.ca.gov or call 916-651-6309.

 
 
Last Updated: 9/22/2017