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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.




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 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 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.


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.

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

Last Updated: 10/23/2018