Appeals & Complaints

The state’s developmental services community is best served by an open exchange of information and opinions, and DDS is committed to resolving problems and concerns when they occur. Below are the multiple options consumers, family members, vendors and providers have for filing appeals and complaints.

Consumers/Families

This process is a mechanism to be used when an individual consumer, or any representative acting on behalf of a consumer, believes that any right has been wrongly or unfairly denied by a regional center, developmental center, or a service provider. This process is not to be used by consumers to resolve disputes about eligibility, or the nature, scope, or amount of services.

This process is for resolving disputes with a regional or developmental center about eligibility or the nature, scope, or amount of services and supports. This process is not to be used by consumers to resolve issues related to denials of rights

Early Start Complaint Processes
(For Children From Birth to Age 3)

Early Start is for infants and toddlers under the age of three who are at risk of having a developmental disability or have a developmental disability or delay, and their families. There are three separate processes in place for addressing disagreements which arise under this program.

Early Start Mediation Conference Request

This is a voluntary process, on the part of both parties, used to resolve disagreements between a parent and a regional center or a local educational agency involving any matter related to Early Start or related to a proposal or refusal to change or initiate the identification, evaluation, assessment, placement, or services. Mediation may be used as a first option for resolution or may be requested at any time during a due process hearing or the compliant process. The mediation conference must be completed within 30 days from the receipt of the request by the Office of Administrative Law.

Early Start Due Process Hearing

This process is used to resolve disagreements between parents and a regional center or local educational agency involving any matter related to Early Start or related to a proposal or refusal to change or initiate the identification, evaluation, assessment, placement, or services.This hearing must be completed within 30 days from receipt of the request by the Office of Administrative Law. The decision is final unless appealed to the superior court of appropriate jurisdiction or civil action is brought by any aggrieved parties.

The Early Start State Complaint Process

This process is used to investigate and resolve any alleged violation of federal or state statutes or regulations governing the Early Start program. DDS, and if the complaint involves a local educational agency, the California Department of Education, investigates the allegations and issues a written decision to all parties within 60 days of receipt of the complaint. (See California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Sections 52170-52174)

This procedure is to be used when: (1) one of the “personal rights” of an individual who resides in a developmental center, community care or health care facility, has been formally denied by the facility as allowed in Title 17 of California Code of Regulation Section 50530; and (2) the consumer disagrees with the facility’s decision.


Vendors/Providers

Family Home Agency Appeals

The Family Home Agency (FHA) appeal process can be used by a FHA applicant or vendor to appeal the following regional center actions: denial or termination of FHA vendorization; movement of a consumer from a family home approved by a vendored FHA; and/or revocation of a family home’s Certificate of Approval.

The appeal process is defined in Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations Section 56096 and 56097. The FHA must appeal in writing to the DDS Director within 30 days after receiving notice from the regional center of its intended action.

This process can be used to appeal a denial of vendorization application, termination of vendorization, or failure of a regional center to comply with regulations.

This is where a vendored community care facility may appeal the actions taken by a regional center regarding service level disapproval, sanctions, findings of substantial inadequacy or immediate danger, or enforcement of any requirement by the regional center which is not contained in Title 17, California Code of Regulations.

This process may be used by a vendor to appeal a rate set by the Department of Developmental Services, the effective date of the rate, or the denial of a rate adjustment.


Last modified: January 16, 2020