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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.


The Department approved proposed activities for community-based organizations and 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 links below provide summaries of approved activities.


The instructions for applicants mention on page 7 that the Department will develop a set of measures to be used for all Promotora and Navigator projects. Those measures are currently in development. When they have been finalized, they will be posted on the disparity funds program website in the same area as the guidelines.

In the meantime, if you are working on a proposal, please suggest measures that you believe will allow a robust evaluation of the impact of the project, while being feasible for project staff. The measures may include topics such as pre/post assessments of consumers' familiarity with the RC system and their access to regional center and generic services. Promotora and Navigator projects may also provide the Department with consumers' identifiers to allow an analysis of changes in service authorizations and expenditures and compare project participants to non-participant consumers.

The Department always works with approved projects to fine-tune proposed measures as appropriate over the course of each project and to offer technical assistance.



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). The FY 2017/18 developmental services trailer bill (AB 107 [Chapter 18, Statutes of 2017]) amended W&I Code section 4519.5 to allow community-based organizations (CBOs) to also receive disparity funds. The Department remains committed to learning more about the challenges consumers and families face in accessing services, and using existing resources to make measurable progress in reducing disparities in POS authorizations, utilization, and expenditures.

Disparate Access to Services

The issue of access to services for individuals with developmental disabilities from diverse communities has been the subject of conversation and study during much of the past two decades. Studies conducted by universities, other research organizations, the Department, and RCs consistently find that communities of color are less likely to receive RC services, and receive lower than average (per capita) POS, compared to individuals who identify as White. The causes of these disparities continue to be examined; however, statewide stakeholder meetings, local community meetings, and family testimonies have identified several themes, including:

  • Supply of culturally and linguistically appropriate and accessible information, service options, providers.
  • Cultural barriers and discomfort challenging authority figures prevent some families from requesting needed services and exercising their rights.
  • Mistrust of public systems by some communities of color.
  • Socioeconomic factors that present challenges to accessing RC services.

Community-Based Organizations Outreach

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

  • Participation in 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.

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 Services, 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 is 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. On an annual basis, grantees must also submit a comprehensive evaluation report that details the effectiveness of the project in reducing disparities in POS expenditures.

The Department initiates discussions with organizations that are not meeting project goals and objectives, and determines if continued project funding is appropriate.


Proposals, fiscal year 2018/19

Grant # Organization Project Title
18-C02 Autism Society Inland EmpireColaboración, Liderazgo, Abogacía, Servicio y Educación (CLASE) Community of Practice
18-C08 Korean American Special Education Center (KASEC)Developmental & Health Screening and Educational Seminar
18-C09 Level Up NorCalBridging the Gap: Connecting Southeast Asian Ethnic Minorities with Regional Center Services
18-C10 PathPointBuilding Cultural Competency to Support the Underserved in Central and Southern California - Phase Two
18-C12 Helping Hands East BayImproving Understanding and Utilization of Services for Cantonese, Vietnamese and Filipino Adult Consumers
18-C13 La Familia Counseling Service (La Familia)La Familia Disparity Funds Program
18-C16 Napa Valley Child Advocacy Network, Inc. DBA ParentsCANNapa County Promotora & Parent Education Project
18-C20 Special Kids Connect (formerly Special Kids Crusade)Increasing Service Equity for Monterey County's Hispanic Population through Education, Empowerment, and Self-Advocacy
18-C23 Special Needs NetworkSNN's Military Parent Advocacy Mentor and Navigator Program (MPAMN)
18-C24 Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN)Asian Mentorship: Empowerment, Education and Access to Services
18-C26 Housing Choices Coalition for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Inc. ("Housing Choices")Navegador de Vivienda - San Mateo County
18-C27 Autism Society of Los AngelesCross-Cultural Independent Facilitator Trainings and Ongoing Support for the Self-Determination Program
18-C29 Tri-County Respite Care Enhanced Respite Services to the Hmong and Punjabi Populations of Alta California Regional Center
18-C30 Regents of the University of California, RiversideIncreasing Awareness and Support for Parents of Youth with ASD in the Desert and Coachella Valley
18-C31 Family Resource Navigators (FRN)African American Community Empowerment (AACE)
18-C33 Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Inc. (EPU)Navigating Systems with Families
18-C34 State Council on Developmental DisabilitiesBuilding Capacity in Cultural and Linguistic Competence as an Approach to Reducing Disparities in the DD System
18-C36 Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies Parent Support Program for Multicultural Communities
18-C38 Care Parent NetworkMulticultural Peer-to-Peer Outreach, Training and Support
18-C39 The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of California, IrvineEmpowering Families & Increasing Access through Education & Screening
18-C40 Support for Families of Children with Disabilities (SFCD)Building Bridges to Services for San Francisco's Underserved Language and Cultural Communities
18-C41 Learning Rights Law CenterTraining, Information, and Advocacy Project
18-C42 Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc./ Carolyn Kordich FRCKnowledge is Power "El Conocimiento es Poder"
18-C43 A Better Life Together, Inc.Bridging Resources into Diverse Groups Everywhere (B.R.I.D.G.E Project)
18-C46 Exceptional Parents Unlimited, Inc. (EPU)Central Valley Outreach and Education
18-C48 Integrated Community Collaborative (ICC Integradoras)ICC Integradora Community Outreach
18-C50 Esperanza Community Housing CorporationA Strengths-Based Approach to Supporting Families, Thriving Children, and Healthy Homes
18-C52 Pediatric Therapy NetworkEarly Identification and Referral Through Developmental Screenings
18-C53 Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc./ Eastern Los Angeles FRCGrass-Roots Organizations Working Network (GROWN): Supporting Community-Based Infrastructure Serving Children and Youth with Developmental Disabilities in Los Angeles County
18-C54 Familias FirstParent Empowerment Project (PEP): Discussing Accessibility of Services for Our Diverse Communities
18-C55 Community Initiatives for Collective Impact/Hlub Hmong CenterFamily-Driven Cultural and Systems Change
18-C56 Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)Proyecto Acceso: Addressing Service Disparities Among the Mixteco/Indigenous Community
18-C57 Native American Training and Technical Assistance (NATTA)Our Wounded Eagles
18-C58 Healthy African American FamiliesIn collaboration with the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and community faith-based organizations, engage communities through focus groups, workshops, symposia and conferences. Develop materials and distribute them in the community. Convene a leadership council to plan the next steps in raising community awareness of autism and regional center services.
18-C59 UCP Family Respite ServicesEnhanced Respite Services to the Underrepresented Ethnic Populations of Alta California Regional Center
18-R-ACRC1 ACRCEnhanced Respite Services to the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Target Populations
18-R-ACRC2 ACRCACRC Staff, Providers, and Parent/Family Workshops
18-R-FDLRC1 FDLRCMulti-Media Outreach Project
18-R-GGRC1 GGRCCongresito - Outreach and Education Conference (2 Conferences)
18-R-NLACRC1 NLACRCParent Mentor Project
18-R-RCEB1 RCEBFamily Home Agencies
18-R-SGPRC1 SG/PRCThe Developmental Journey of Children in the African American Community
18-R-SGPRC2 SG/PRCWebinar development and hosting for parent training
18-R-TCRC1 TCRC Interpreter Training and Language Access Assessment

Community-based organization proposals, fiscal year 2017/18

Grant # Organization Project Title
17-C7 Boat People SOS-Center for Community Advancement Parent Education and Training Program
17-C9 Children's Hospital Los Angeles Building the Capacity of Vietnamese Parents of Children with DD to Access Regional Center Services
17-C10 Children's Hospital Los Angeles Parent Navigators in a General Pediatrics Clinic to Reduce Purchase of Service Disparities
17-C12 Community Gatepath Outreach and support services reaching underserved East Palo Alto and Spanish-speaking Families
17-C13 Creativity Explored Culture Shift
17-C14 Designated Exceptional Services for Independence "Puente al Centro Regional" (Bridge to Regional Center)
17-C17 Esperanza Community Housing Corporation A Strengths-Based Approach to Supporting Families, Thriving Children, and Healthy Homes
17-C20 Family Resource Navigators Multilingual Family to Family Navigation
17-C21 Friends of Children with Special Needs Asian Empowerment, Education and Services
17-C25 Helping Hands East Bay Strategic Engagement of Cantonese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Polynesian Families of Adult Consumers who have low or no Purchase of Services
17-C26 Heluna Health/Eastern LA FRC Early Childhood Person Centered Practice Training
17-C27 Housing Choices Coalition for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Inc. Navegador de Vivienda
17-C30 Institute for Maximum Human Potential Community Integrator Project
17-C31 Korean American Special Education Center Free Developmental & Health Screening Fair in catchment area of ELARC
17-C32 Korean American Special Education Center Free Developmental & Health Screening Fair in catchment area of SG/PRC
17-C33 Korean American Special Education Center Free Developmental & Health Screening Fair in catchment area of FDLRC
17-C34 Korean American Special Education Center Free Developmental & Health Screening Fair in catchment area of RCOC
17-C35 La Familia Counseling Service Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Training and Peer Support Services for Hispanic Regional Center Consumers
17-C36 Learning Rights Law Center Community Support Groups
17-C39 Napa Valley Child Advocacy Network, Inc. DBA ParentsCAN Napa County Promotora Project
17-C40 Native American Training and Technical Assistance Our Wounded Eagles
17-C41 New Horizons Success Access Team
17-C42 Parents Helping Parents, Inc. POS Equalization Effort
17-C43 PathPoint Building Cultural Competency to Support the Underserved in Central and Southern California
17-C44 Pediatric Therapy Network Parent Engagement Through Education and Support
17-C45 Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc. Knowledge is Power - El Conocimiento es Podar
17-C46 Special Kids Crusade, Inc. Centro de Recursos Familiares del Sur el Condado (South County Family ResourceCenter)
17-C47 Special Needs Network Inc. SNN's Parent Empowerment Program
17-C48 St. John's Well Child and Family Center Parent/Caregiver Education and Advocacy
17-C52 Team of Advocates for Special Kids Increasing Access to Inland Regional Center Services for Riverside County Families who are Hispanic and/or Spanish-speaking and/or Have a Family Member with Autism
17-C54 The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of California, Irvine Outreach, screening and linkage to Early Start services at RCOC for Hispanic and Vietnamese families
17-C55 The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of California, Irvine Improving Community Access through Education and Training
17-C56 The Regents of the University of California The Family Mentor Partner Program: Valuing and Connecting Hispanic and Chinese Families with Regional Center Services
17-C59 UC Davis Accessing Intervention Services: Culturally Inclusive Parent Video Modules
17-C60 Warmline Family Resource Center Parent Navigator Program & Outreach

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.




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.


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.

Statewide Disparity Measures

Measures of Disparities in Access to Services

The purpose of the measures is to allow the Department of Developmental Disabilities, consumers and families, and other interested parties to track progress in reducing disparities.

Medidas de Disparidades en el Acceso a los Servicios

El propósito de las medidas es permitir que el departamento, los consumidores y las familias, y otras partes interesadas, hagan un seguimiento del progreso en la reducción de las disparidades.

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

Last Updated: 10/2/2019