Office of the Self-Determination Program Ombudsperson

Goals & Responsibilities

The Self-Determination Program (SDP) Ombudsperson assists regional center consumers and their families to participate in the SDP program.


  • Increase the number of people in the Self-Determination Program (SDP)
  • Reduce the amount of time it takes to enter SDP
  • Recommend policy change at regional centers and DDS


  1. Provides information to regional center clients and their families,
  2. Facilitates solution to disagreements,
  3. Investigates complaints regarding implementation of the program,
  4. Recommends strategies for change to the department and the legislature, and
  5. Compiles and reports data to the legislature.

The Ombudsperson cannot:

  1. Decide disputes in favor of one party or another
  2. Overturn a fair hearing decision or make a recommendation to a court

All information is confidential unless agreed to be released.


Office of the Self-Determination Program Ombudsperson

Cynthia Salomón-Ponce – Manager

Photo of Cynthia Salomón-Ponce smiling & wearing a black suit

Cynthia began her career as a Deaf Services Coordinator at an Independent Living Center. There, she discovered her passion for working with the community and individuals with disabilities. In 2006, Cynthia joined Disability Rights California (DRC) working at the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA). She served consumers of Regional Center of Orange County and Harbor Regional Center. In 2016, she transferred to DRC’s Legal Advocacy Unit to focus on Special Education cases statewide. When the Office of Payee Reviews and Beneficiary Assistance (OPRABA) was established, Cynthia carried out complex reviews and investigations to protect vulnerable populations and advocate for systemic change.

Jacqueline Davis, Community Program Specialist II (Representative)

Photo of Jacqueline Davis smiling, wearing a white and blue dress

Jacqueline’s career began in 2006 by supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a direct support professional and respite worker. She previously served at Alta California Regional Center where she facilitated the vendorization process and monitored vendor compliance with the Lanterman Act and state regulations. Her experience also includes the broader context of human services such as working with seniors, delivering child protective services, and connecting individuals to resources. Jacqueline earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, magna cum laude from California State University, Sacramento. She also possesses Associate Degrees in Communications, Ethnic Studies, Liberal Studies, and Social Science. Jacqueline joined the Self- Determination Program Ombudsperson Office in August 2022.

Leslie Garcia, Associate Government Program Analyst (Representative)

Photo of Leslie Garcia smiling, wearing a green shirt

Leslie’s professional experience as an ABA interventionist inspired her to focus her career advocating for individuals with disabilities in all capacities. She went on to work at Alta California Regional Center as an Early Intervention and Children’s Service coordinator. Leslie continued her professional journey with the CA Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) Vocational Rehab Program. Leslie remains dedicated to assist individuals and their families navigating the developmental disability system. Leslie joined the Self-Determination Program Ombudspersons Office in August 2022.

Natalie Ibarra, Associate Government Program Analyst – Bilingual (Representative)

Photo of Natalie Ibarra smiling, wearing a grey suit with a blue shirt

Natalie began her career in Human Services with the CA Department of Social Services where she served as a Licensing Program Analyst. She worked closely monitoring adult and senior care facilities ensuring proper care and living conditions were provided. Natalie has experience working with regional centers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Natalie joined the Self-Determination Program Ombudspersons Office in November 2022.

Connie Parra, Executive Assistant

Connie’s passion for public service began as a young adult when she attended and was involved in local events in her hometown. This sparked curiosity and motivated her to give back to the community in any way possible. Connie’s public sector experience started at the City of Cerritos and continued at the County of Orange. She is always willing to learn about her role and is excited to be part of the DDS family, serving the community. Connie is bilingual Spanish staff and will be supporting the Offices of the Ombudsperson and Office of the Self-Determination Program Ombudsperson.


Ombudsperson Brochures

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Last modified: June 19, 2023