Support Services

Options for Regional Center Consumers

Support services are provided to persons receiving services from a regional center in order to meet the goals and objectives of the Individual Program Plan (IPP) or the Individual Family Service Program (IFSP) (for children ages 0-3 years). Services may be provided through vendors approved by the regional center or through other resources.

Regional centers have a mandate not only to serve persons with developmental disabilities, but to provide services in the most cost-effective manner possible. They are required by the Lanterman Act to use all other resources or generic resources first before using regional center funds. A generic agency is one which has a legal responsibility to serve all members of the general public and receives public funds for providing those services. Other resources include natural supports, school districts, etc.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provides personal care and domestic services to persons who are aged, blind or disabled and who live in their own homes. IHSS is provided to those who otherwise might be placed in an out-of-home care facility but who can safely remain in their own home if IHSS services are received.

Regional centers have a mandate not only to serve persons with developmental disabilities, but to provide services in the most cost-effective manner possible. They are required by the Lanterman Act to use all other sources of funding and services before using regional center funds to provide services. Persons who receive services from a regional center and are eligible for IHSS are expected to use IHSS services available to them.

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program is administered by each county with oversight by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). For application and eligibility information contact your local county welfare department, adult services section. Look for them in the county government section of your local telephone directory.

Laws & Regulations


For additional information about IHSS services for persons receiving services through a regional center, contact your local regional center or supported living agency.

Respite (In-Home) Services means intermittent or regularly scheduled temporary non-medical care and/or supervision provided in the person’s home. In-Home Respite services are support services which typically include:

  • Assisting the family members to enable a person with developmental disabilities to stay at home;
  • Providing appropriate care and supervision to protect that person’s safety in the absence of a family member(s);
  • Relieving family members from the constantly demanding responsibility of providing care; and
  • Attending to basic self-help needs and other activities that would ordinarily be performed by the family member.

Respite (Out-of-Home) Services are provided in licensed residential facilities.

Respite services typically are obtained from a respite vendor, by use of vouchers and/or alternative respite options. Vouchers are a means by which a family may choose their own service provider directly through a payment, coupon or other type of authorization. For more information about respite services contact your regional center representative.


  • August 3, 2017 — Program directive to regional centers regarding the repeal of the respite restrictions per Welfare and Institutions Code section 4686.5 — English | Spanish

Transportation services are provided so persons with a developmental disability may participate in programs and/or other activities identified in the IPP. A variety of sources may be used to provide transportation including: public transit and other providers; specialized transportation companies; day programs and/or residential vendors; and family members, friends, and others. Transportation services may include help in boarding and exiting a vehicle as well as assistance and monitoring while being transported.

For more information about transportation services contact your regional center representative.

Day programs are community-based programs for individuals served by a regional center. They are available when those services are included in that person’s Individual Program Plan (IPP). Day program services may be at a fixed location or out in the community.Types of services available through a day program include:

    • Developing and maintaining self-help and self-care skills.
    • Developing the ability to interact with others, making one’s needs known and responding to instructions.
    • Developing self-advocacy and employment skills.
    • Developing community integration skills such as accessing community services.
    • Behavior management to help improve behaviors.
    • Developing social and recreational skills.
    • There are many different types of day programs that provide a diverse range of opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities. If you are interested in learning more about day program services, ask your regional center representative for assistance.

Day Program Providers Persons or organizations that provide day program services must be vendored by a regional center, meet any required licensing standards and meet local government requirements.

If you are interested in providing day program services, ask for information and help from the resource developer at the regional center in the area in which you wish to provide services.

The public school system in California has an important role in providing services to children with developmental disabilities. In recent years, the California State Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the California Department of Education (CDE) have become strong partners in providing early intervention services to children 0 – 3 years old and special education services to children 3 to 21 years old. Children with special needs who were served by California’s Early Start Program are able to enter public school programs as preschoolers if they satisfy the eligibility criteria as a child who can benefit from special education services. Local education agencies provide special education and related services to children with disabilities in environments including the home, school, public or private preschools or child care settings. Regional centers continue to provide some services for children who are eligible under the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act that are not provided as special education and related services.More information about educational services for children with special needs can be obtained through your local school district, local education agency or Special Education Local Plan Area.

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) started its Foster Grandparent Program in 1967 at Pacific State Hospital which became Lanterman Developmental Center and is now closed. Now operating in nine locations, low income seniors, age 55 years or older, are matched as volunteers with Regional Center consumers who are under the age of 21. With a lifetime of experience, the Foster Grandparent offers comfort and assistance to the consumer so he or she may fully participate in school or daily living activities and enjoy a higher quality of life.DDS also operates the Senior Companion Program which started in 1978 and shares the same philosophy and goals as the Foster Grandparent Program; however, Senior Companions volunteer to mentor Regional Center consumers who are 21 years of age or older. Mentoring and companionship is the main focus of the one-on-one partnerships that are created by the program. (Read more about the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Program)

Independent Living Programs provide services to adults with developmental disabilities that offer functional skills training necessary to secure a self-sustaining, independent living situation in the community and/or may provide the support necessary to maintain those skills. Individuals typically live alone or with roommates in their own homes or apartments. These homes are not licensed.Independent Living Programs, which are vendored and monitored by regional centers, provide or coordinate support services, referred to as Independent Living Services (ILS), for individuals in independent living settings. They focus on functional skills training for adults who generally have acquired basic self-help skills or who, because of their physical disabilities, do not possess basic self-help skills, but who employ and supervise aides to assist them in meeting their personal needs.

For more information about Independent Living Programs and Services, contact your local regional center.

The Self-Determination Program provide consumers and their families with more freedom, control, and responsibility in choosing services and supports to help them meet objectives in their Individual Program Plan. (Read more about the Self-Determination Program)

Work Services Program addresses the employment needs of persons with developmental disabilities. The Work Services Program provides work and community integration opportunities through Supported Employment Programs (SEPs). These programs are available to persons who are Regional Center clients. (Read more about Work Services and other employment opportunities)


Last modified: April 29, 2023